So I think we have all been told that we don’t respect enough. Whether it is your elders, your peers, your parents, your boss or the people who play important roles in your life that you may forget (like the barista that makes your coffee every day or the teller at the bank).
We’ve all done it, we’ve all heard it and I’m pretty sure we’ve all thought the same thing.
“What do you mean by ‘respect’?”
It’s a pretty good question, but it’s not really one that we are able to ask outright. We have to try little methods and test the water to find the best way to go without being inadvertantly disrespectful. It can be grueling to find that sweet spot.
One thing I noticed today what another dimention to respect that somehow managed to forget.
When I think of respect, I think of an apprentice who has watched the skill, discipline and restraint of his master as he has grown and taken that as a find example of how to be. The master is a master of himself as well as his art and practices all that he preaches. That feeling of awe and admiration the apprentice has towards his master is what I define as respect.
But, there was something I forgot:
There are two definitions to the term ‘respect’!
You have the sagely master-apprentice one:
“a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”
And then you have:
“due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”
Starting to make a little more sense now? Eh? Yeah…
There is a big difference between the two definitions and it ca be the deal-breaker. When someone is asking for respect, that is the due regard for feelings and rights. You may owe them that due to something they have given you, perhaps by raising you, homing you, paying for your college, having been there for you for a long time.
There is a fairly easy way to define the two of the meanings:
One is a feeling towards a person
The other is an attitude and consideration
So, this begs the question, how do you BE respectful? What is it that people need when they ask for respect?
Rather than thinking “What do you mean by ‘respect’?” you can turn the question around to “What do you need that I am not supplying you with?”
Consider their role in your life –
if you upset these people, how are you disprespecting the things they have done for you. Do they feed you, pay for the home you live in, pay for your wifi or support you? Have they supported you through university or helped to pay off your car.
I mean, oweing someone respect doesn’t mean that they can’t do any wrong, but it does mean that you owe them the benifit of respectable behaviour and coonsideration for them having done those things for you.
So, if someone has done something good or kind for you, either occasionally or over a long space of time, it is especially important to consider their feelings. They have done good by you or supported you and so you owe them a return of consideration, occasionaly a ‘get out of jail free’ card to let a few problems slide and to do your best to show your appreciation for them.
When someone is demanding your respect, the thing they are really asking for is your consideration for them. They have done something, or numerous things, for you and they want you to trust their judgement, respect their values or just to let them do their thing without interference.
Let them have it and there won’t be a problem.
So here are a few situations where respect comes into play and how you should try to approach it.
This is probably the most common one because when we are growing up we see our parents as these powerful, almost divine, figures in our lives who have the power to raise you, but you also believe they have the power to END you too. It’s amazing how we can have such high expectaitons of them. Now, for some parents cannot be respected. Perhaps they were abusive or uncaring or they just don’t have any relationship with them, but for most of us, we have a relationship with our parents where they have raised us, fed us, clothed us and done their best.
When you grow up, there comes a time when you start to realise that your parents are just people. Everyone is a little bit messed up and they are no exception. We all have flaws, have problems, get irritated, get emotional or over aggressive sometimes. Normally it is okay, but it is profoundly difficult for kids to accept the same of their parents.
Sadly, this is very difficult to overcome as you spend most, if not all, of your childhood seeing your parents as these amazing, almost super-human, creatures who are supposed to be perfect, but can’t possibly be so. However, you CAN find a way around it.
Everyone makes mistakes – When you are dealing with your parents, remember that they are people and, just like everyone else, they can be touchy, rash, harsh, flawed, have poor judgement and make bad choices sometimes- and it’s okay!
Remember that it is their life that they are living and, just like you want for yourself, everyone should have the right to behave as they want in life. There are always consequences to how you behave, but you have every right to do it anyway.
Their house, their rules – If something in your house is unfair, then you have a right to feel offended by it but, as long as that unfairness isn’t infringing on your health or safety, then there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Sometimes, you have to understand that people have reasons for stuff and you also can’t have everything. Here are a few examples of times when you might hit tension:
Staying out late – Do your parents ever get mad because you stay out too late? If they do, before you get mad, try to consider WHY they are like that. There could be a whole number of reasons why:
they are worried about your safety. They may fully trust you to take care of yourself and make good choices, but sometimes in life that isn’t enough to keep yourself safe. Remember that bad stuff can happen and it’s the scariest thing in the world for them to think that it could happen to you. Cut them some slack, they love you!
There could also be the fear of problems. If they go to bed and you get home after them, they may be concerned that the door might get left unlocked or you locked out. They might want to go to sleep, but don’t want to go before they know you are back safely.
Arguments – This is a tough scenario because everyone is entitled to their feelings, but it can sometimes be taken as a disrespect when you voice them.
What I would recommend, after years and years of stupidly just blurting out my feelings, is to try and avoid the argument stage if you can. Try to be understanding and compassionate with your parent’s wishes and try to make it so that you can, instead of getting heated, changing things so that you can have a calm and reasonable conversation. Try to avoid slipping into a childish state and try to keep a level head.
Also, be open to having your mind changed! Maybe that party miles away from home with people you don’t know well isn’t the best idea. Maybe going out all the time isn’t good for you. Why are they argueing their point?? I’m pretty sure that they don’t set out with the intention to have a blazing row because those aren’t enjoyable for ANYBODY. I doubt they’d contradict you or say no purely so they can have the pleasure of an arguement.
Everyone needs to feel repsected at times. We all have egos and most of us have ones that bruise like a banana in a game of dodgeball. More often than not, people feel they are not respected because their egos are not getting what they need.
Everyone likes to feel important at times, so it is vital that you listen to what the people around you have to say. Do you always shoot down their ideas the moment they’ve said them? How willing are you to trust their instinct or follow their lead?
Even if you are in a position of authority, it doesn’t mean that no-one below you has good ideas and it doesn’t make you any less of a good leader to listen to what others have to say.
Try to remember how far a little caring and support goes. Ask how your co-workers are doing, listen to them when they talk and have consideration for them as a person, not a working machine.
If you are in a workplace and feeling disrespected, try to tell that to someone in a considerate and non-aggressive way. Maybe ask if they have any suggestions for how to garner more respect or have your ideas and opinions listened to a little more.
If you work with someone who is getting aggressive or disruptive from feeling disrespected, try to have a talk with them about how they are viewed and give them gentle suggestions for how to change their situation. Maybe have a friendly work with other co-workers of higher-ups about making sure that employee is treated with a little more care and consideration. A happy team is a thriving team, so making people feel good can only benifit everyone.
You’re boss is the godfather of all respect. They decide that they are going to give you work in return for the money that we all need in life. No money makes life very difficult, so we owe a lot to our bosses that have chosen to employ us.
Remember with your boss to always keep in mind how hard it is running or managing a business – especially a smaller or independant business.
They have so much to keep in mind and so many problems to face and solve that sometimes they are not as friendly, talkative or open as others may want them to be. Having compassion is the best way forward and understanding the pressure that your boss is under.
Either position a boss is in is difficult. If they are the owner of a small business, they have a lot of competition and have to fight the battle of staying afloat in a difficult climate as well as the affect of huge corporations and taxes. If you work for a small business, understand the pressure that your boss is under.
If you work for a huge corporation, then your boss most certainly has a lot of pressure (and responcibility of a LOT of money) hanging over their head. Imagine being put in charge of a branch of a corporation where one mistake could lose you millions. It happens and no boss wants it to happen to them. They’re under extreme pressure to make sure that they keep everyone on the ladder above, as well as below, them happy too.
So, compassion is a must have when dealing with a boss, but you also need to ensure that you are communicating with them in the right way.
What sort of boss do you have? Are they someone who you can be friendly with? Do they like humour and banter or do they require a bit more formality than a group trip to the pub?
For me, I am lucky because my boss at the restaurant I work for is great! She works hard, spends time with the staff, cares about every one of us and is a lot of fun to be around! I respect her in every way as a person and a leader.
When you are with your boss, remember that they have that position for a reason, whether they were employed in it or started their own business, they deserve to be there and so they are WELL WORTH listening to. If they ask you to do something, listen. If they have a problem, listen.
Remember that no boss wants to feel like their staff don’t like them. I work in management and that’s the thing I fear the most of all. Remember that your boss is a human being, so don’t be afraid to ask them if they are okay if they look sad or tell them you’re there for them if they seem like they’ve got a lot on their plate.
SO, compassion, listening, knowing what formality is okay and not okay and remember their humanity.
If you ever feel abused by a boss or seriously neglected, don’t feel you have to respect that kind of behaviour and take action. Abuse, whether physical, verbal or mental, is never okay.
Ah family, a group of people who love each other, care and get on each other’s nerves on a regular basis!
Family is tricky because, while there is quite a standard hirachy, everyone has their own needs for respect. The youngest member of the family should the the bottom of the “Food chain”, but that won’t stop them yelling about the fact they never get listened to.
You grandparents want respect, your parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and eventually your kids, nephews, neices, grandkids and so on ALL need their respect tanks filled and don’t like it any less than nice and full.
Like with most of these examples, a lot of respect comes down to compassion. The grandparents raised the parents that raised you, so they want respect for that and your understanding that they are, escentially, the reason you’re here!
Siblings, whether older or younger than you, want your respect because you grew up together (or at least grew up one after the other in the same family) and you are peers. You know each other’s best and worst traits, you’ve heard them cry and cheer about stuff and they want to know that you, one of the people who know most about them, respects them, trusts their opinions and decisions and believes in their capabilities.
Most siblings also want support but without you trying to decide stuff for them. Telling your sibling that the guy they like is an idiot won’t usually go down very well. They want you to support them and be there for them without feeing like they can’t make their own decisions or mistakes.
Let them fly as they please, but catch them if they fall.
Non-direct family, such as uncles, aunts, etc should be treated with respect because of what they mean to your immediate family. They are your parent’s siblings, were there with them growing up and are important to them, so you should treat them with respect.
I think the best attitude in general is to be respectful to the people around you who are important to you (and the people important to them). If you value their presence, input and positive impact on your life, then show them the respect they need in return to keep up what they are doing.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and found it helpful. If you have any comments or questions on respect, let share them in the comments below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter. Xx