My mother would occasionally shout this command at my brother and I when we were younger.
Respect is expected in most arenas of life.
Jackie Robinson once said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me…All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
Respect does not automatically require agreement nor does it require a commitment on our part to another person.
Respect is defined on different levels. You can have respect for someone’s ideals or beliefs; respect for someone’s property; and respect for someone’s person (their life, body, etc.). You can also respect someone’s opinion (without having to agree).
Other areas where respect can be practiced are…
…When you hear or see an ambulance coming from any direction, your response is to respect their need for space by moving out of their way. Someone’s life may depend on it.
…When you see the police car behind you turn on their lights and siren signaling to you to pull over, hopefully you respect their authority and do as they ask.
…When you attended or while you attend school, you show respect for the teacher’s knowledge even if you do not agree with them.
…When you visit someone else’s home, you show respect for their possessions and are extra careful in order to take care not to break anything. You also respect their time and try not to stay past your welcome.
Respecting Nature is another area. It is not difficult to respect the power of a storm, but it takes discipline to respect nature on a consistent basis by doing our part to protect it.
Regarding Respect in Relationships
It was taught to me from the time of childhood – and I still try to teach my daughters this lesson – to respect your elders and those in authority.
When I lived in inner city New Jersey, while spending my time mentoring some youth trying to leave the gang life, we had an ongoing discussion on respect. The common phrase I would hear was, “You expect me to show respect to others before they show respect to me? I’ll get beat up if I don’t demand respect from others.”
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon among people in any area. There is a prevalent, unspoken philosophy in society that secretly says, “I’ll respect you if you respect me.” The only trouble with this when it involves relationships is respect depends on how an individual defines it for them.
With over 311 Million people in the United States alone, that is potentially 311 Million different definitions of respect. How is anyone even going to keep up with respecting others if each person they meet will have their own definition of how they desire to be respected?
First, let me say that it is okay to have a unique idea of what respect means to you as an individual. However, let me also add that there are several universal rules when it comes to respect between individuals in relationships.
- Respect Time: There are only 24 hours in a day. I know this is not new news for you, but we all have obligations and TO DO lists. When you are in relationship with someone, respect his or her time. Be aware of their time constraints.
- Respect Opinions: Everyone has an opinion. Remember that respect does not equate to agreement. Agreeing to disagree can be the utmost in respect for another individual – along with not continually trying to convince them of your point of view.
- Respect Property: When you are in possession of someone’s property, treat it as if you are personally invested in it.
- Respect Space: Not everyone desires to allow people into their personal space. If you are in business with an individual like this, only call them during office hours. If someone spends time with their family in the evenings or weekends, do your best not to take them away from that family space.
- Respect because that’s what YOU expect: the golden rule says that we should treat others how we expect to be treated. If we want respect, we should show respect. We should show respect without expecting the same in return.
Ultimately respect is about YOU and I as individuals. The rule we should consider following is this…
Show respect for others, even with no guarantee it will be reciprocated. We will attract respect when we show respect.
For those who do not show respect in return – try to discover what it is in their life that could be holding them back from doing so. They may need an extra measure of respect, because of difficulties in their life, family or job.
This can be a difficult task.
You may be thinking, “Does he expect me to get rolled over and just take it?”
The answer to this would be, “absolutely not.” You can stand up for yourself and still show respect. You can rise above the level of disrespect someone shows you and present yourself with dignity.
Simon Sinek was quoted as saying, “If you want to be a great leader, remember to treat all people with respect at all times. For one, because you never know when you’ll need their help. And two, because it’s a sign you respect people, which all great leaders do.”
What are your thoughts on respect? Use the comment area below and share them…