Nearly anything will earn you respect in the eyes of someone. But only certain things will earn you respect in the eyes of those who are respected. It’s that simple.
So, true respect is not earned of injuring oneself or breaking the law. The respect earned by that is not true and lasting, because it must be reaffirmed. It is so important for some to be respected that they would to that and more. However, the way to earn respect is to be respectful. Make it an attitude, not a thing given to a person after they have proven themselves. This way, it can not be demolished by anything bu Respect is something that many people would do many things for. Some would die for it, some would endure endless pain and suffering if they thought others would respect them for it. This is seen in the many rituals of gangs and the like, which include cutting, burning, or otherwise injuring oneself, simply to earn respect from other gang members. To me, this is ridiculous. If someone cannot respect you for who you are, than they are not worth the time and effort of earning their respect. A lot of people try to find respect from others because they feel that it is in their religion to respect and be respected. Unfortunately, at least for Christians, this is untrue. The bible simply says to love, and bring others to Christ. This does not mean to earn others’ respect, but just to love them even if they don’t respect you.
In the case of other people, there is a mix of importance placed on respect. Some people, like myself, depend only on freely given respect that is acquired through normal acts within your general range of behavior, rather than going out of ones way to impress or earn the respect of someone. Sometimes this is misunderstood as not caring what others think of you to the point where you might behave in a manner that is immoral, illegal, and/or distasteful. For instance, I have a friend who only cares what many people would call the “lower” class of society thinks of her. Therefore, she is drawn into distasteful, immoral and often illegal acts that include violence, allowing others to contribute to her delinquency as a minor, and other various forms of immorality and illegality. These acts are often self-destructive and painful to those who love her, i.e., her parents. By lowering herself to the standard of those she feels she needs respect from, she is carrying that want for respect to a point of hell. The world she is living in is a hell to most people, but due to those who give her a version of respect, it cannot be seen as such. I say version of respect because I have seen the “respect” that she is given by her “friends.” These people have no problem betraying her for drugs, or sex, or hurting her parents because they think they have the right. I have no right to truly judge, only He who sits on high can do that, however, from my mortal view, it seems that these people do not know the meaning of respect. I do not see that they respect my friend, or each other, or anyone else.
To me, respect means that you listen to someone’s ideas, follow rules that have been established (i.e. The Ten Commandments, or the law), as well as know when to help someone, or ask them if they need help. To respect someone, is not to assume that they are invincible, because that is idol worship, but to be their friend if they need it, to be able to put petty disagreements in the past, to follow their wishes if you have prayed and know it is in their best interest, due to knowledge gained from God. That kind of respect is what is important to me. Respect given for injuring oneself or breaking a rule is fake, faulty, and will not stand the test of time. True respect, is like true love. It is unconditional. It is timeless. Just as true love can never be taken away, respect for a person is always there once established. Trust can be demolished, so can hate, and anger and envy and all other bad or good things in this world, except for love and respect. Love is God, and He will never be gone; Respect is of love, and once you truly respect someone or something, it cannot be taken away. That may be hard to grasp, because usually respect and trust go hand in hand, and I’ve already said that trust can be demolished. However Respect is different than trust. Respect is not just to a person, it can be just something in general. Once it is to or for a person, than yes, it can be destroyed of that person. Real Respect is an attitude. It supercedes the person, and gives way to the total. Real Respect is a state in which you do not defile anyone or anything for your sake. True Respect, real Respect is selfless, because you must give of yourself to respect. This, in turn t yourself if you choose to do so. That is the kind of respect that is important to me, without it, I will never truly feel right, or like myself, as I do now, because I know I have that kind of respect. I earn it by being as respectful as I can, and anyone who will not respect me for that is not someone who’s respect I want, because I will only be respectful to earn respect, as that is all I should have to do.
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One of the best ways to show respect for someone is to truly listen to another’s point of view. Obviously, we’ll not always agree with one another on every topic (and you should never adopt a point of view with which you do not agree), but we should allow each other to have and express our own views – regardless of whether we agree with them or not.
“To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.”
Keep this in mind: you owe everyone a basic level of respect for being a fellow human being, but your level of respect for others will vary from person to person. Just like your self-respect will grow as you master the ideals discussed above, your level of respect for others will vary depending upon your view of them and their own self-respect.
There’s nothing wrong with affording some people greater respect than others. You should be kind and polite to everyone – no question about that. But for obvious reasons, some of us simply deserve more respect than others. For example, I think we would all agree that a consistently honest person deserves more respect than a habitual liar. So, always be kind, polite and afford a basic level of respect for your fellow man, but you shouldn’t afford beyond basic respect to those who aren’t working on ideals you believe to be important.
Respect is one of mankind’s most noble sentiments. The highest levels of respect are always earned – never given. This is true of self-respect as well as respect for others. Before granting the highest level of self-respect or respect for others, make sure the person is worthy of the honor.
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals;
respect for others guides our manners.”
Written by Shawn Jackson
- OTHER PART IN THIS SERIES -
How to Gain the Respect of Others
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