Believing that every human being is deserving of respect and basic human dignity, is paramount in the quest of understanding persons from diverse backgrounds.
When the aforesaid forms the foundation of human interaction, the evident results are found in how we engage people and more importantly how we react in situations involving others. Understanding the concept of what respect is and can be, isn’t just attributing it to being the antidote for solving interpersonal conflicts. After properly digesting what it is, we will find it is an important factor in dousing tensions and reducing conflicts among nations.
Trust me, showing respect to a person or even a thing has evolved over time. As children, some of us saw respect as a debt we owed the elderly. Meanwhile, what was oblivious to us at the time was even children deserve respect. What this establishes is although the elderly are senior members of society who should be highly regarded in terms of age and experience, they aren’t the main thread that holds the fabric of being respected altogether.
So the question then is how best can we perceive and understand what respect is?
A wise person once said we can only give out of what we have in our possession. This then raises important questions about self-respect. Do we even respect ourselves and what does it even mean? Echoing the words of English mathematician and astronomer John Herschell, “Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue.”
Among other things, respecting yourself is a sign of self-love and acceptance. If you feel you need an incentive to allow yourself to appreciate who and what you are, please remind yourself that you teach others how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. Respecting others starts with respecting yourself.
In a world with many quarters to exercise our freedom of expression, it’s easy to forget it needs to be handled with great responsibility. Where there’s no accountability for words said to others and justifying insensitive opinions just because we can have one, can easily ruffle the feathers of others.
One of the most important rules for influencing people’s tolerance, and compassion, is respecting others’ opinions. Out of vanity, we forget this rule way too often.
We must learn that respecting someone’s opinion doesn’t automatically imply you agree with them. Sometimes, it means you agree to disagree; other times, it means you are wise enough to understand that every coin has two sides and you can’t see both sides at the same time.
Many great relationships fall apart because people refuse to validate each other’s opinions and feelings. In appreciating the differences that exist from one culture or religion to another, we find being respectful easy.
Being respectful also shows one’s moral compass points to Christ. Jesus who is the mentor of all Christians could have been overbearing and disrespectful due to the great power he possessed. However, in his dealings with men, he left a blueprint on how those who identify as children of God should behave in their interactions with others.
Being respectful to others is an act that foreshadows godliness. Nonetheless, being respected by others is earned by the accumulation of respect you give out over time.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others – Philippians 2:3-4.
What are your thoughts on respect?
Ogo Adelakun writes on diverse subjects related to everyday living.