- an attitude of consideration or high regard – He is an intellectual giant, and I have great respect for him.
- good opinion, honor, or admiration
- polite greetings, often offered as condolences after a death. – The mourners paid their last respects to the deceased poet.
- a particular aspect of something – This year’s model is superior to last year’s in several respects.
Synonyms: - attitude of consideration: deference, consideration, regard, fealty
- (good opinion): admiration, esteem, reverence, regard, recognition, veneration, honor
- (polite greetings, condolences):
Antonyms: disrespect - contempt – disdain - scorn - contumely - irreverence - disparagement
Respectfulness is the concern for a harmonious relationship with your family, friends and all other people in a society, respect should be a natural response of politeness which can not be demanded. The true identification of respectfulness values others for who they represent, with a concern not to look down onto other people. This results in the protection of someone else’s personal or common values, so that opinions and persuasions do not harm the good intentions of someone else. Taking into consideration the views and desires of others and incorporating it into your decisions, i.e. being truthful to people. When you respect another, you factor in and weigh others’ thoughts and desires into your planning and balance it into your decision making.
An example would be: respecting someone’s opinion. You may or may not agree, but you place it into consideration, and it may ultimately influence your decision (even if partially).
In Asiatic philosophy does self-respect and respecting others deserve to be respected, this is in the same context as taking care of yourself and your environment. Respectfulness adds general reliability to social interactions, it helps people to get along with each other in society.
When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us. Arapaho Proverb
Respect means a lot of different things. On a practical level it seems to include taking someone’s feelings, needs, thoughts, ideas, wishes and preferences into consideration. We might also say it means taking all of these seriously and giving them worth and value. In fact, giving someone respect seems similar to valuing them and their thoughts, feelings, etc. It also seems to include acknowledging them, listening to them, being truthful with them, and accepting their individuality and idiosyncrasies.
Respect can be shown through behavior and it can also be felt. We can act in ways which are considered respectful, yet we can also feel respect for someone and feel respected by someone. Because it is possible to act in ways that do not reflect how we really feel, the feeling of respect is more important than the behavior without the feeling. When the feeling is there, the behavior will naturally follow.
Going back in time, respect played an important role in survival. If we think of a small tribe wandering in the desert we can imagine that a person not respected by anyone could be left behind and die. Such a person was considered to have no worth, no importance, no value to the group. This, I believe is the foundation of our psychological need to feel respected.
Nowadays it seems much more possible to survive without being respected. Someone could, for example, inherit a large sum of money, have many servants and employees and have salesmen constantly calling on him and catering to him, yet not be respected in the least. Someone could also make a lot of money through having a particular talent which is valued, such as being able to dunk a basketball yet not really be respected, perhaps because of the way he treats others.
Still, there is a value to respect which money can’t buy. Though someone’s life might not depend on it, there are times, many times in fact, when another person has the chance to make a personal decision – a judgment call. When that person feels sincere respect for someone else, they will make a different decision than if they feel no respect, even if they have customarily shown a false, pseudo-respect to the person.
We can all sense whether we are respected or not. This holds true for those with money and power as well. Moreover, it is quite possible that those who pursue money and power are actually trying to gain a type of respect that they never have truly felt.
When we are respected we gain the voluntary cooperation of people. We don’t have to use as much of our energy and resources trying to get our needs met. When people respect one another there are fewer conflicts. In summary, it is for both evolutionary and practical reasons that respect is important, and also why we simply feel better when we are respected.
Respect is something that is earned. One earns another’s respect by voluntarily doing the things I mentioned above, such as taking that person’s feelings, needs and thoughts into consideration.
Respect seems to be like a boomerang in the sense that you must send it out before it will come back to you. Respect cannot be demanded or forced, though sometimes people mistakenly believe that it can
Showing and Earning Respect – Respecting someone means respecting their feelings and their survival needs. Here are ways to show respect for someone’s feelings:
- asking them how they feel
- validating their feelings
- empathizing with them
- seeking understanding of their feelings
-taking their feelings into consideration
For this process to work efficiently several things are required. For example:
- Each person must be aware of their own feelings; i.e. know how they feel.
- They must be able to express their feelings.
- They must know how to listen non-judgmentally & non-defensively.
- They must know how to validate feelings.
- They must believe that feelings have value.
- They must believe that feelings matter.
If respecting someone means respecting their feelings and their survival needs, then if a person does not respect your feelings, they don’t respect you. If those in positions of power and authority do not respect your needs and feelings, they will not earn your respect. Here are some specific ways to show respect:
-A sking others “How would you feel if…” before making a decision which affects them
- Voluntarily making changes and compromises to accommodate their feelings, desires and needs
- Not interrupting them
- Soliciting and allowing feedback. Trying to understand their beliefs, values and needs
- Giving them the opportunity to solve their own problems without underestimating them, in particular:
- Avoid telling them what to do
- Avoid telling them what they ‘need’ to or ‘should do
- Avoid giving them unsolicited advice, sermons and lectures
Remember that the most effective way of finding out how well your efforts are working is to simply ask, “On a scale of 0-10, how much do you feel respected by me?” If you have created a safe environment, you are likely to get an honest answer. Then if it is lower than 10, you can ask, “What would help you feel more respected?” Then you have the specific information you need to improve your ‘rating.’ I have found that most people are more than willing to express themselves when asked such a question. And the answers are typically articulate, and often surprising.
Confusion Between Respect, Obedience and Fear – A New York City gang member was asked why he carried a gun. He replied: “Before I had this gun, I didn’t get no respect. Now I do.”
There is a danger in mislabeling fear as respect. To use an analogy, consider what would happen if two jars in the medicine cabinet were mislabeled. What if poison ivy lotion were labeled as cough syrup, or chlorine as contact lens cleaner?
Here are some comparisons between fear and respect:
- Fear is toxic.
- Respect is nurturing.
- Fear destroys self-confidence. Respect builds it.
- Fear is life-threatening. Respect is life-enhancing.
- Fear is forced. Respect is earned.
- Fear is learned. Respect is earned.
To confuse the two creates serious problems for society.
We Don’t Feel Respected When…
We are forced
We are ignored
We are threatened
We feel imposed upon
We feel intruded upon
We feel judged or rejected
We are not listened to
We are lied to
We are lied about
We are not given reasonable explanations
We are not asked for our opinions
We are invalidated
We are interrupted
We are laughed at (especially when we are upset or in pain or some kind of trouble)
We are not cared about
We are mocked
We are stereotyped
We are underestimated
We are not taken seriously
Our feelings are not taken seriously
Our preferences are not taken seriously
Our dreams are not taken seriously
Our ideas are not taken seriously
Our needs are not acknowledged and not taken seriously
Our questions are not taken seriously
Our questions are not answered or are evaded
We are told that we wouldn’t be able to to understand something
We are not asked for our ideas
Others make decisions about us without our input
Others do not try to understand us
Others make assumptions about us
We are not asked what we think we need
Others tell us what they think we need.
We are not asked how we feel
Others believe they know what is best for us
Others believe they know us better than we know ourselves
Our way of doing things is not accepted
Our privacy is invaded or denied
We feel betrayed
We feel controlled.