I am not going to gloss over things today, life is too short for that. Respect is a funny thing. Let’s look closely at its four definitions (according to Merriam-Webster):
1: a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
a : high or special regard : esteem
b : the quality or state of being esteemed
c respects plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference
Is this how we use it? Not really. Not always, is a more appropriate response.
Respect has become more synonymous with tolerate than esteem. We say we respect other’s right to disagree. Does that mean we value their disagreement higher than the original opinion? No, it means we tolerate their opinion.
In a world where people are killed everyday over respect, people forget that it is earned–not given. In its truest form, respect is earned through hard work, dedication, and humanity. Part of humanity is treating others with respect and dignity.
Therefore, the old adage of “you have to give respect to get respect” is correct.
The Bearded Igor posted today about his experience with disrespectful customers…and after a career in retail, boy do I know how people can be disrespectful. It comes down to the unwritten hierarchy we have in society. Some simply believe they are better than others…their opinions are better then others…and they have no problems showing this belief.
Somethings are just best left unknown. I am having a problem lately with respect and how to handle things which were best left unknown. I think I have written long enough on this blog to show, or at least say, that I am respectful of people’s beliefs, ideas, and opinions. I cannot and will not tell others what to think, read, hear, believe, etc. While many people live with that same opinion and still love to debate or discuss differing opinions, the ones that do not stick out like sore thumbs and cross the line into being disrespectful.
This past week has been difficult for me in the blogging world. I was accused by one of being rude and disrespectful because they felt I did not interact enough with them. Another felt it appropriate to imply I condoned racism simply because I do not like a book. Both of these actions were quite disrespectful; however, since they stem from a person’s opinion, I respect their right to think that. Part of me is quite irate, but part of me simply places it into the filing cabinet marked “best left unknown.”
So, when you comment on things, are ordering coffee, or just interacting with others, stop and ask yourself if what you are going to say or write is respectful or not. If it is not, may I suggest filing it in your own “best left unknown” cabinet because mine is getting too full. If you are left with nothing to say, might I suggest singing a nice lullaby instead? I am fairly fond of Braham’s Lullaby.