Respect — Not PC, but R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Posted on February 29, 2008

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Aretha Franklin - RespectRespect…. we all think we know what it is and how to give it. I’m not talking about being politically correct.  In many ways, I think being “Politically Correct” has ruined everyone’s sense of humor.  What I am talking about is having RESPECT for other people.

When people give you respect it is a great feeling.  You feel like you’ve impressed someone.  That recognition feels wonderful.  Someone appreciates your skills or your natural talents.  Nice!  Showing respect for others is nice too.  You recognize a quality in someone else that you admire.  And when you give respect now you’ve made someone else feel good.  So what’s the point of all this?

The problem is two-fold.  It seems to me that many people don’t accept the respect that they are given with any humility.  You show someone respect and they overfeed their own ego.  You show respect; they see submission.  The second part is giving it.  Not enough people give the respect to those around them.  We don’t appreciate the contributions that every person brings. We demand perfection and we don’t appreciate the effort.

Everyone wants respect, but we don’t always know how to give it. So we don’t.  Maybe we didn’t get it from our parents, teachers and friends.  Whatever the reason, it’s just easier not to give respect.

But is easier always better?

Giving respect means that you show compassion. You think about other people’s feelings and you give validity to other people’s perspectives. (Ya feelin’ me?) That’s all people want.  To be understood.  Steven Covey once said that to be understood is like “psychological air.”  We need it to breathe.  Part of being understood is to be respected.  I don’t have to like what you do or say, but I can still respect you for having your own way of doing things. When you respect someone you add to their own self-respect rather than shaving it away everytime you speak.

In today’s self-centered, materialistic society isn’t it time for some old fashioned respect?  We can respect each other’s differences and realize that we all see the world through different lenses.  Those differences weave a tapestry of values, opinions and desires to fill our collective human experience.  Why would anyone want to undermine that just to feed their own ego?

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Posted in: Observations, Writing