As Aretha Franklin says “Find Out What it Means to Me”.
I have recently been told that I am a difficult person to attain respect from. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think “difficult” is a subjective term. From me, trust is granted, and so is forgiveness. Respect needs to be earned – not expected, and certainly not demanded.
Three of my core values are honesty, integrity and humility. To garner my respect to any degree, these core values must not be violated. There are many people who have gained my respect for not only things that they have accomplished, but for being memorable people who have had an intensely positive effect on the lives of others – including me. These people are very aware of my respect for them. I don’t necessarily feel that respect has to be mutual. My core values are a personal moral code – other people will have different priorities and ethics. As well, friendship is not always synonymous with respect. There are many people whom I respect that I am not personal friends with. To a lesser extent, I do have a few acquaintances in my life that I do not hold in utmost respect – but I recognize this is because they adhere to different moral, social or behavioural principles than I do.
The whole theory of disrespect is also up for interpretation. I believe that not having respect for someone is entirely different from being disrespectful to that person. Disrespect is the willful act of insulting someone or something, an active display of scorn, disdain and contempt. I may not respect you, but that should not be interpreted as me intentionally or unintentionally disrespecting you. In most instances – it’s a differing of principles or actions. Rarely is it my goal to be disrespectful to someone – but if I am, that person will know it, and my justification for it.
I am consciously aware that not everyone I know respects me – and that is legitimate and valid. I have never expected that every single person I know will respect me. My values may not be theirs. Furthermore, I recognize that I view the world as black & white – not many shades of grey. Others might be offended by my need for order and detail. In most of these instances, I unapologetically choose not to seek that person’s respect – because I am comfortable and confident in who I am. I need to feel that there would be a benefit or value added to my life by working for and gaining that individual’s respect. There are people whose opinions matter significantly to me, and I am willing to work hard to cultivate their respect and sustain it. For each of us, validation of our personal self-worth is measured by respect for ourselves, and respect from others. Strive to earn respect from those people who enhance your life in some way. Respectfully let go of those who don’t.