Respect Starts and Ends with You

Respect is a small word that occupies a big place in our minds. Songs are written demanding more of it. Many people leave long held careers or relationships for lack of it. Respect has a high premium in our society but is in apparent short supply. People- kids especially want more respect but are not always clear on how to nurture more of it in their everyday lives. Here are a few suggestions towards feeling more respected:

Give First 

A story comes to mind about a foolish man freezing to death, hunched over his fireplace saying ‘I’ll give you some wood only if you give me some heat first’. The fact is that respect doesn’t happen by accident.

The people who get the most respect are typically those who give the most first. They are prone to listen first so that they can understand better, and then in kind be understood better. While this may seem a simplistic suggestion- try it for 30 days with your kids, spouse, employer or employees. Your example will propel you and those you associate with to a higher level of respect.

Show that you care 

Courtesy and respect go hand in hand. A simple ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ in simple matters such as asking to be passed the salt goes a long way in building respect. Remembering a person’s name or giving a ‘good job’ note are also examples of showing that you care. Showing consideration for others like turning a cell phone off during a meeting or opening the door for someone else creates an atmosphere of respect. The small things over a person’s lifetime time always add up. These small things require little but bring out the best in others and ourselves.

Disagree but don’t be disagreeable.

Learning to disagree with other people’s points of view without becoming hostile or disagreeable can be difficult and at times feel impossible, especially when we feel stressed or under verbal attack. It may seem appropriate to counter attack with equal hostility, it certainly doesn’t make the situation any better. Learn to control yourself by continuing to breathe, affirming that’s it is okay to have differing opinions and re invest yourself in listening first to understand then be understood.

Becoming personally responsible for the respect you give to others is key. Don’t wait for your children, spouse or co workers to change before you do. Don’t expect something for nothing. So instead of waiting, choose to be a living, breathing example of respect by giving first, demonstrating courteous acts and learn to disagree civilly. There is nothing stopping you and world will cheer you on- so start today!

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