What exactly is respect? It’s the sense of worth or personal value that you attach to someone. Respect is an overall evaluation you give someone based on many factors – what that person is doing with their life, how they treat you and others, whether they are honest or not and if they seem to consistently do good things, large or small, for other people. In short, respect is a positive view that you form of how someone is living their life. On the other hand, self-respect is your view of how you’re living your life.
In this two-part series, we will explore three areas of respect – self-respect, respect for others and other people’s respect for you. All three of these areas of respect are very important.
It Starts with Self-Respect
Respecting yourself means giving and defining your own worth and value as a human being. Think about this: if you do not respect yourself, it will be more difficult for you to respect anyone else. So it all begins with self-respect.
But how do I go about respecting myself?
Outlined below is a list of ideals that are fundamental to self-respect. Once you begin to genuinely adopt and develop these, you’ll be on your way to developing a healthy level of self-respect. However, as we talked about the true you in a previous article, certain ideals have the greatest impact on your level of self-respect and you’ll have to determine how that quality will be deployed within your life.
Being an Honest Person…You must be honest with yourself and with others.
Valuing Academics and Other Forms of Education…A vital key to self-respect is knowledge.
Understanding the Impact of Proper Nutrition/Exercise…In order to be your best, you must feel your best.
Understanding Financial Responsibility…Financial responsibility is a cornerstone to independence.
Learning to Listen…Part of learning self-respect involves respecting the beliefs of others.
Understanding the Value of Good Manners/Proper Conduct…Knowing and exercising good manners and proper conduct will make you feel good about yourself, and, in return, others will respect you for your good manners and proper conduct.
Learning to Accept Personal Responsibility for Your Own Conduct…Part of being a respected person involves taking responsibility for your own actions.
Learning When and How to Apologize…Accepting responsibility involves formally apologizing for wrongdoing and striving to make amends.
Learning to Understand Which of Your Friends are Good Influences and Which Ones are Bad Influences…We must learn to emulate those who are good influences and ignore those who are bad influences.
Having Important Goals and Plans for Reaching Them…Each goal you set and attain, you will gain strength to challenge yourself a little more; the more goals you attain, the more your self-respect will grow.
You should address each of these ideals within your own life in order to carry a well-rounded respect for yourself. If you haven’t done so already, start working on each and every one of them. Keep a journal to track your progress. And, as always, if you need help with any of them, turn to a valued listener for help.
Showing Respect for Others
Just like with yourself, when you demonstrate respect for others, you give value to their being and ideals. In addition, you’ll make someone feel good by granting them respect, provided, of course, that it’s something that they deserve.
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.”
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