Respect the opinion of others – Letter 10

In these series of blog posts I translate the Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca into modern English. In Letter 10, why he discussed why respect for opinions is important. Including those of others.

Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important, or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities; and it is also the process of honouring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.

Now, I respect you enough to trust you to be by yourself. In other words I mean that I think you can behave reasonably without supervision. Try applying this idea to the people you know. If you can leave them to get on with things alone then you have belief in them. If you can’t leave them then generally speaking you don’t have much faith or respect in them.

Treating people with respect

What I’m trying to say is that if we appreciate something or someone, we might treat them with respect. If a person is by themselves and also in a emotional state then we’ll want to keep an eye on them. They may not be thinking straight and could do themselves, or others, some harm. Allowing someone total freedom in some activity which is important to you, means that you have complete certainty in them.

One snag to this is that if someone wants to keep an eye on you then it is because:

  • they can’t trust you to look after yourself, or
  • they can’t trust you to work on an important activity alone.

You’ll have to decide for yourself which one is true.

I’m happy to say that I have confidence in leaving you by yourself, and not because I think you are emotionally fragile. By the self-assured manner in which you present yourself I know that you’ll complete important activities without the need for constant direction.

Assess your life

Another thing, as you sit here reading this article, pause and take an assessment of your life right now. Chances are, you have enough food, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities in your life. For instance, you might also have loved ones, people who care about you. You are (mostly) comfortable, without any desperate needs. All you need, you already have.

And yet we don’t see life this way … we are dissatisfied, looking for more comfort, more love, more knowledge, more certainty, more possessions, more food, more entertainment, more validation. I do this too — I’m not criticising anyone. We don’t often embody the idea that we already have enough. In other words, if we remember to do so, we can give thanks for what we have. We can appreciate the beauty, the preciousness, of every moment, of being alive. It is a miracle, and we don’t have to take it for granted.

I’ll sign off with this thought; don’t be afraid to seek spiritual guidance. If anyone asks what you’re doing in this respect be confident enough to tell them, don’t try to keep it a secret.

Take care.

What do you think? Why not leave a comment below?

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

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