Simple Life Lessons

What is respect?  I wonder how many are actually able to define the correct and true meaning of respect?  For me, I know what it means but would probably have a hard time defining respect if I were asked to.  Respect is to respect someone.  There is no other way around it.  According to Merriam-Webster, respect is:

: a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.

: a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way

: a particular way of thinking about or looking at something

Children are taught at a young age to respect their elders, respect their parents, friends, siblings, etc.  When we grow up and join corporate America or the military, or further our education, respect is one of those things that mostly happens without even thinking about it.  Maybe we become lawyers, doctors, nurses, or any other career or job, we are expected (or ordered, or demanded) to respect those we work with or for.  We are expected to respect our bosses, our co-workers and everyone in between.

The giving of respect to others seems so simple.  If you admire them, you respect them.  It is quite an easy concept to follow through with but what happens when we feel like we have been disrespected?  We then become combative, disenfranchised, and even defiant.  Once we have been disrespected (or feel we have), it is easy to then become the one who is being disrespectful.  That bad situation turns worse and the disrespect becomes a cancer.  Neither party can stop this shameful act.  Everything we say comes out in a ill-mannered, demeaning way even if unintentional.  It almost feels like we have reached a point of no return – we cannot stop.

When someone accuses us of being disrespectful, it is easy to say, “Well that is just how you feel.  I am not being that way!”  But if someone has a FEELING that they are being disrespected, the other person needs to take a good, hard look at themselves to see if they would consider it to be disrespectful if they were spoken to like that.  Chances are after a little introspection with an open-mind, we may discover that perhaps we could say things or act differently so not to seem disrespectful.

There is an old saying, “To earn respect, you need to give respect.”  I say to hell with that mindset.  We need to respect others because that is the right thing to do.  We shouldn’t do it only if we receive respect.  We should also do it because no one likes or wants to be disrespected.

An even better old saying?  “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” – the Golden Rule.  Therefore, if you want respect, give it.  If you don’t care about receiving respect, then don’t give it.  Let’s see how far that gets you in life.

respect. 2015. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/respect

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