Respect is an interesting thing. Google defines respect as “A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” When we talk about respect, clearly there are several different meanings. The one stated above seems to be a feeling that is unsolicited. In other words, it’s not a required feeling. You feel respect for someone because of their abilities. For example, I feel respect for my professors because of their abilities, qualities, and achievements. I feel respect for my mom and my dad for the same reason. I feel respect for my friends and colleagues.
But what about the respect that you must show someone regardless of whether or not you want to or whether or not they deserve it? At that point, the “feeling of deep admiration” part of the definition goes away. If the respect that you’re showing is because of a “show respect to your elders” kind of thing then that seems a little different to me. I feel like if you are showing (for the sake of argument) “respect” to someone who you don’t necessarily believe deserves the respect you’re showing then it’s more an action of being “courteous” than respectful. My parents always taught me that you have to earn the respect that you receive from someone. So in the beginning of a relationship, what exactly are you showing said person? I think being kind and courteous are different than being respectful.
Let me pause here for a brief second to make a statement about this post. I am in no way saying that I don’t think it’s important to show respect because that’s the rule. I’m just arguing for the sake of arguing. I do think respect is a very important aspect of life that our society misses most of the time.
My point in writing this is that when you show this required respect toward someone and they don’t show you the same respect. At what point do you stop showing respect? Or do you even stop showing respect? It gets a little old showing respect for someone and not receiving the same respect back. Just as it gets old trying to be kind and not receiving the same kindness back. At some point I feel that the kindness I’m showing is clearly going unnoticed or is getting ignored, so why does it matter if I’m being kind, courteous, or respectful?
Remember the golden rule? “Treat others the way you wish to be treated”, if you wish to be respected and treated kindly, then you should treat others with kindness. If you wish to be ignored, ignore others. Pretty simple, don’t you think?