Respect – what is it really? And how does it work in this day and age?
I grew up in a world where we trusted – and respected – our leaders. Political, Church and Business leaders were people we looked up to and had respect for. I may just have been young and naïve, but I really do think things were quite different.
Over the past 40 years or so, though, we’ve seen that confidence steadily eroded – along with our respect for those same people. Now we expect that they will ‘merchandise’ the facts, fail to mention important details – and put a spin on everything. And that’s the ones behaving well!
These people still have the same titles and the same status as they did, but respect is something that you earn through your actions – not your title, wealth or power. So what is it that makes someone worthy of respect?
Our world view is that someone is worthy of your respect if they treat everyone as an equal, keep their mind open to alternative viewpoints and do what they can to be a positive influence on the people they come into contact with.
It’s also about courage.. The courage to call it like you see it, even if it may not be popular. The strength to stand up for others if they are being bullied or mistreated by people around them. The moral fortitude to tell the truth, even if you may not look particularly attractive as a result.
It’s also about being there for people when you say you will. Not swapping sides, or ditching them if there’s trouble brewing. Not looking to lay blame on them for something they didn’t do to save yourself. Understanding that everyone has a complicated life and sometimes they may not be easy to be around – but giving them the benefit of the doubt even if you don’t know what’s causing them to behave in a way that might be confronting.
We reckon that if you treat your family, friends, work colleagues and – in our case – employees consistently with the important factors outlined above, that is worthy of respect. It also sets and example for each of them to “pay it on” and live their lives the same way. If we can’t have confidence in – or respect for – the people we used to look to for guidance and support, then the best substitute is each other.
This means it’s not about what people have or who they know – but that respect is given (or not) based on the way they behave. And the way they behave with everyone – not just a select few. Everyone who treats others well and is honest is worthy of our respect. It doesn’t matter where we come from, how old we are, what we own or how famous we are – all that makes us worthy of respect is far simpler than that. It’s just about the way we treat the people around us!