As in, “sees in me what I see in myself.” I’ve never felt that respect can be commanded, nor do I feel that it is to be earned. I’ve practiced an energy of having a certain presence in life. When I was a classroom teacher, for example, I visualized how I wanted each class to go as I planned lessons with care, and then I set the tone for what the hour would be by standing at the doorway, greeting my students with, “welcome to English class, your best class of the day!” Instead of reading rules and threatening punishments, I started class by saying, “thank you for being here today, because you had the choice...and because you chose to be present, you’re also choosing to place importance on the work we’re doing here today.” I’d talk a little about how they were preparing for a future that is wide open and full of possibility.

It was like I’d cast a magic spell on those teenagers. They sat up a little taller, showed interest in the content, and felt proud of their efforts. And, nearly all of them told me I’d helped them, that I was a good teacher, that they appreciated me. I felt their respect.

This love list of mine is also written to me. I know that to create the experience I desire in this life, I am the key. How I show up in relationship matters. When Craig and I met for our first date, he noted how I asked questions with great interest in him and how I listened intently—and that felt good to him. I felt that same interest reflected back from him.