Sunday, August 23, 2009

R E S P E C T.... Can We Ever Get Enough?

We all want respect, don't we? Is it something that has to be earned or is it something you give to those you love, unconditionally? Personally, I have unconditional respect for those I love. It doesn't matter whether they deserve it or not. I am their champion, come what may. Did I get that same unconditional respect in return while growing up? Absolutely. Not.

The dictionary defines respect (when used as a verb) as: to hold in esteem or honor; to show regard or consideration for; to respect someone's rights or feelings; esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person; a personal quality
or ability; or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for his/her judgment.

In marriage, respect is a most integral ingredient to its success. Without mutual respect, there cannot be a balanced relationship. The same goes for friendships then, right? You'd be a fool to
think otherwise.

Respect means a lot of different things. On a practical level it seems to include taking someone's feelings, needs, thoughts, ideas, wishes and preferences into consideration. We might also say it means taking all of these seriously and giving them worth and value. In fact, giving someone respect seems similar to valuing them and their thoughts, feelings, etc. It also seems to include acknowledging them, listening to them, being truthful with them, and accepting their individuality and idiosyncrasies.

Respect can be shown through behavior and it can also be felt. We can act in ways which are considered respectful, yet we can also feel respect for someone and feel respected by someone. Because it is possible to act in ways that do not reflect how we really feel, the feeling of respect is more important than the behavior without the feeling. When the feeling is there, the behavior will naturally follow.

We can all sense whether we are respected or not. This holds true for those with money and power as well. Moreover, it is quite possible that those who pursue money and power are actually trying to gain a type of respect that they never have truly felt.

When we are respected, we gain the voluntary cooperation of people. We don't have to use as much of our energy and resources trying to get our needs met. When people respect one another, there are fewer conflicts. In summary, it is for both evolutionary and practical reasons that respect is important, and also why we simply feel better when we are respected.

Respecting someone means respecting their feelings and their survival needs. Here are ways to show respect for someone's feelings:

  • asking them how they feel
  • validating their feelings
  • empathizing with them
  • seeking understanding of their feelings
  • taking their feelings into consideration

For this process to work efficiently several things are required. For example:

  1. Each person must be aware of their own feelings; i.e. know how they feel.
  2. They must be able to express their feelings.
  3. They must know how to listen non-judgmentally & non-defensively.
  4. They must know how to validate feelings.
  5. They must believe that feelings have value.
  6. They must believe that feelings matter.

If respecting someone means respecting their feelings and their survival needs, then if a person does not respect your feelings, they don't respect you. If those in positions of power and authority do not respect your needs and feelings, they will not earn your respect.

Here are some specific ways to show respect:

  • Asking others "How would you feel if..." before making a decision which affects them
  • Voluntarily making changes and compromises to accommodate their feelings, desires and needs
  • Not interrupting them
  • Soliciting and allowing feedback. Trying to understand their beliefs, values and needs
  • Giving them the opportunity to solve their own problems without underestimating them, in particular

These next three are my

Avoid telling
them what to do
Avoid telling them what they *need to do* or *should do*
Avoid giving them unsolicited advice, sermons and lectures

Frankly, it amazes me to know how many inconsiderate people are in the world, who get by with that kind of crap because we actually let them.

So, why is it that everyone I know *In Real Life* finds it necessary to constantly tell me I'm wrong or tell me what to do and how to do it or simply ignore me? I think it's probably because I respect them enough to let them, but it can still be excruciatingly painful...


Daryl said...

Brava! Well said. And anyone who doesnt respect you, well walk away.. who needs a 'friend' like that?

JennyMac said...

Awesome post.

and as a side note..I will be singing Aretha Franlin's RESPECT for the near term. :)

Patricia Hannigan said...

I think we must know the same people *In Real Life* :o\

I too am amazed by all the inconsiderates out there. :o/

Mariah said...

Well said. I think unsolicited advice stinks! And everyone does it. Why?

Grandma Nina said...

Very well said. We should all print your post and put up on the refrigerator where all notes go that need to be seen and read by all. I, too, am amazed at how rude and disrespectful so many people are. But what goes around comes around and the good guys do always win in the long run. But I'm so sorry someone is treating you like that. I'm virtually hugging you right now. Hope you feel it.

Snooty Primadona said...

I'm sure that it's some kind of vibe or chemical I exude or something. People have treated me like an idiot since I could even speak. The same way mosquitoes flock to me in summer. I did have a brief few years when everyone around me thought I was brilliant, but that was long ago. Frankly, I think it's because I don't tell others what to do or boss them around. It's almost like I leave a door open for it or something. Basically, I'm not an opinionated azzhole who criticizes everyone around them, telling them what to do & when to do it. I'm pretty damn sure that is the door I've been leaving open. However, I'm preparing to slam that door shut!

Heather said...

A friend of mine recently wrote on her blog, "Just when I had convinced myself that I didn't actually hate people I realized nope I really do still hate people."

She wrote that after running into a bunch of rude and DISrespectful tourists in Paris. She says it tongue and cheek, but I laugh and relate to it at the same time.

I really don't hate people, just the rude ones. ;o)

She also says, "I'm mad at my parents for raising me to be a nice person." That one is gem--IMHO.

Great post Snooty.

imom said...

Great post and timely! My boss and I were just talking about people being disrespectful. I had to make a phone call to ask some questions of a business and the woman totally treated me like an idiot. I kept thinking just because you know the answer to these questions I don't. I ended up hanging up without getting all my questions answered.

This post should be sent out in email! Although the people who need to hear it wouldn't "get" it.

Snooty Primadona said...

imom: EXACTLY!

Mental P Mama said...

Well said Snooty! I always say to my kids, you don't have to agree with everyone, but you owe them their due respect.

Staci said...

I love this post, probably because it seems to me like I get a crapload of unsolicited advice from a couple of "friends in the real world". One of these days, I'm going to have to bow up and tell them to cut it out!

Honestly, it gets so old.....

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Well, dammit, I was going to tell you I thought you ought to....

Ah, never mind. Let's go to lunch. Wednesday!! Call me if you're open.

And you can tell me what to do because I'm danged if I know!


Blog Designed by: NW Designs