We all need respect to function properly. Some of us need it more than others. My primary need is to feel loved, but I certainly want respect, and believe I need it as well.
'Respect,' someone told me years ago, 'is what you earn. It is not given to you automatically.' Well now, maybe it should be.
If we all give respect automatically to everyone around us, rather than waiting for others to 'earn' it, I see a possible glitch..
What if we wait to see the qualities we value in order to give respect? We may be missing important strengths in others that we may not possess ourselves and, therefore, don't value or respect.
Each of us brings unique qualities to a relationship, a family, a business. I'm keenly aware of how varied those qualities are in the people around me. In our workplace, for instance, we need Chiefs and Indians, creatives and task oriented people, introverts and extroverts. Pretty typical, I expect, of most work environments.
Some of us call attention to our contributions, some do not. But let any one of us stop doing what we are employed to do and everyone will notice. What any one of us contributes may not be highly valued until we don't do it. That's sad. It is always best to value others' contributions while everything is running smoothly. Too often we neglect to do that.
Offering respect in everyday situations to
every person we interact with changes the atmosphere,
the environment, the outcome.
Offering respect in everyday situations to every person we interact with changes the atmosphere, the environment, the outcome. I know how important it is to offer respect, although I certainly don't offer it as often as I intend. I know how important it is to receive. I don't get it as often as I'd like, maybe not even as often as I deserve. Does anyone? Can respect be demanded? Of course it can and it is. But is respect that is demanded worth receiving? Is it real or pretended when forced?
Those of us who are 'bosses' can insist on respect or we can let someone go. What about all of us who are not bosses? How do we insist on respect? The real answer, I suspect, is that we can never insist on true respect, we can only insist on the appearance of respect. What we can do is give respect to others, a blanket respect initially, continued until there is reason - realized with certainty - that it should not be given.
We can respect ourselves. This is ultimately the respect we need. Disrespect - of others or of ourselves - should never be an option. Then, 'if we are true to form,' as Emily Dickinson penned, 'our statures touch the skies.'
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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