What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word respect? Quite probably it’s Aretha Franklin’s song with that title, yes? Although the words in the song are a little light, the meaning of the word itself speaks volumes.
RESPECT – [ri-spekt]
- 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 her judgment.
- Deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgement: respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
How many of us say we want respect, we deserve it, but don’t really know what it is we’re asking for? It’s a word often thrown around without much thought given to what’s required to warrant it. We think we should be respected, we’re told each of us as individuals deserve respect from each other as human beings.
So, what exactly is it that would make a person respect-worthy? In light of the dictionary definition, I’d venture to guess these qualities might secure the respect of those we so desire to have it from:
- Be a person of excellence. Don’t do sloppy work. Don’t be unmannerly. Do our best, not our acceptable. Mediocrity has never earned much in the way of respect. “It’s good enough,” often means it isn’t.
- Value yourself. People’s guts tell them instantly if we don’t value ourselves and they will only follow our lead.
- Value others. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.
- Practice kindness, patience and forgiveness. We have no idea what the other person may be dealing with. Soften up a bit. When someone’s irritating or annoying us, let kindness kick in. Whoever said returning rudeness with rudeness gains respect? As the saying goes, “Kill ’em with kindness.”
- Honour others’ time – if we want people to respect our time, wouldn’t it ring true to first respect theirs?
- Demonstrate tolerance. We don’t have to agree with everyone, but it doesn’t mean we can or should dictate our opinion as being the only one that’s acceptable. When people feel judged, the likelihood of gaining their respect has pretty much gone out the window.
- Ask those close to us what makes them feel respected. Let’s go do that. See what transformation takes place in the level of respect coming our way!
I have some work to do myself in order to become more respect-worthy, this I know to be true! Kid President thinks that in order to have a better world where we truly respect one another, adults just need to be more awesome! As I like to say, if you want a li’l respect, then be a li’l more awesome!