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“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”

Albert Einstein

In this quote, Einstein captures our tenet for the month, “We are each unique and innately worthy of respect.” From garbage man to university president, child to adult, neighbor to stranger, respect is shown in many ways: listening, service, kindness, courtesy, patience. My son and I took a trip around the United States last fall and stopped in Mesa, Arizona. We soaked in some beautiful Arizona sunshine, walked barefoot in the grass, and attended the newly opened Mesa Temple Visitors Center . One unique dual-lingual display was especially impactful for me. It was called “I can be a light.” It looked like a giant honeycomb of hexagons that each lit up when you touched them. On each hexagon was written–in English or Spanish–ideas of how we can each be a light.

Ideas like “support a cause,” “donate food,” “share your talents,” and “encourage someone” were expected.  However, there were a few that I did not expect. One that has been percolating in my mind since then is, “love yourself.” How am I being a light when I love myself?

Science diplomat, author, and motivational speaker Vishwas Chavan wrote, “If we can respect the divine within us, if we can treat it with dignity, then we can respect others around us.” This thought suggests to me that as I honor my own unique divine nature, I increase my capacity to love and respect others.

Though I desire to grow in love and respect and work toward it, I often sabotage myself with thoughts and judgements of myself that are less than respectful. Comparisons that leave me feeling not good enough. Weaknesses that discourage me and sap my confidence. However, the tenet does not say that we are each perfect and that makes us worthy of respect. It says, “We are each unique and innately worthy of respect.” Unique. Innately worthy. Loved and respected just as we are. In action and in thought.

My theme word for 2022 is “Nourish.” Nourish body, soul, and relationships. I think that is a form of respect and love. Part of how I nourish those things is by listening to my own needs and extending the same kindness, courtesy, and patience I try to show to others. I restated our tenet in first person, added a word, and wrote the affirmation on my bathroom mirror, so every day I can see, think, and say…  

I am unique and innately worthy of love and respect

We all need that encouraging nourishment just as we need food and water every day. Marianne Williamson eloquently stated, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” This is a great month to practice nourishing ourselves and those around us with light, love, and respect.