A couple of days ago, I was leering at women with lust. How I got stuck back there, isn't really the point. I was stuck! I didn't even really want to look that way- I was seeing them that way, in spite of not wanting to. It was painful - I knew it was not good, and I asked G-d for help to stop it but that didn't seem to help. I am out and about, on normal residential streets, and that was what I was stuck with. Not Manhattan, just regular streets. I didn't like it, and I could not really stop.
I saw a modestly dressed girl of about 18- tsniusly dressed frum girl. To my relief, I didn't have lustful thoughts. Rather, I had feelings and thoughts of respect. I respected her, and I wanted to keep it that way. I felt relieved and much better about myself. Thoughts are actions. I was taking good actions again.
Suddenly, I was given the answer I was looking for, that I was seeking. I can respect everybody! I don't have to look at anyone with lust. My choice - I am not a victim of lust. From that point on - I have shifted how I look. I pray I will keep that in mind and keep practicing it.
Everybody deserves respect. It is that simple. How they dress isn't what determines how much respect I should give them. Respect is inherent. It is unconditional.
Respect and lust cannot both exist at the same time. Pick one. Which way do you want to see people? I know my answer.