RESPECT, Find Out What it Means to You

“Men are respectable only as they respect” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I got an e-mail earlier – one of those e-mails that make the rounds.  Nine out of ten times these e-mails provoke a positive response from me:

  1. Cute pictures of animals make me smile from my head to my toes.
  2. Jokes make me laugh – even the ones I don’t get.
  3. E-mails that caution the reader about online scams or viruses make me cautious.
  4. E-mails pointing me to great recipes make me thankful… and hungry.

But every once in a while one comes along that I delete faster than I eat a chocolate cupcake.  I, for one, don’t like e-mails that are disrespectful to anyone.  It doesn’t matter if I like the person or what they stand for, whatsoever.  I have a strong distaste for disrespect and very little use for people who are disrespectful.

I remember the very first Presidential election I was cognizant of.  My mom and my dad were huge, huge, huge supporters of one of the candidates.  They talked about it so much that I got the impression they actually knew him.

Unfortunately (for them) their guy did not win.  When the day came for the “swearing in” of the gentleman who did win, my mom sat down in front of the television to watch.  She made very nice comments about his wife and seemed genuinely proud for both of them.  It was a bit much for my young, Barbie-doll-obsessed mind to handle, so I asked her why she was watching the “bad guy” enjoy the win.

She was very quick to point out that he wasn’t the “bad guy”.  She extolled his virtues as well as those of his wife and said that he had her full support.  She then said something that has always stuck with me.  She said, “He’s my President now.

I recall that she did, as always, follow the news and never missed a Presidential address.  I also recall that she never said an unkind word about him.  Ever.  Even when the next election rolled around and the man she voted for won, she cried as the other one left office.  I didn’t even ask why, I knew:  He had been her President.

That wasn’t just the sign of a well-mannered southern woman and it wasn’t just a case of a patriotic lady.  It was a complete and total lesson in R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

What most people fail to realize is this:  When you are disrespectful toward an individual (whether it’s the President of the United States, a politician from Alaska, or the lady who waits on you at the grocery store), you say far more about yourself than you do them.

And none of it’s good.

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” – Jackie Robinson

None of us will agree with everything anyone does or says.  Whether it’s Sarah Palin’s hunting (grrrrr) or President Obama’s Health Plan (?????).  I’m certainly not saying that we don’t have the right to express our opinions.  Many brave men died to provide us with that right.  All I’m saying is this:  There’s a difference between stating your opinion and being downright nasty and disrespectful.

When a national magazine placed Mrs. Palin on the cover in casual attire, wearing kind of a wild-eyed expression – it wreaked of disrespect.

When bloggers post jokes about President Obama or our First Lady, it wreaks of disrespect.

Disrespect doesn’t just show up on the political scene, of course.  How about our daily life?

  • Do you treat your spouse with respect?
  • Do you treat your parents with respect?
  • Do you treat your children with respect?
  • Do you treat your children’s friends with respect?
  • Do you treat your grandparents with respect?
  • Do you treat your grandchildren with respect?
  • Do you treat workers in public with respect?
  • Do you treat your co-workers with respect?
  • Do you treat strangers with respect?

Notice that it isn’t just important to treat people who are older than you with respect.  Young people deserve respect as well.  As I’ve pointed out before, the respect you show toward others says a lot more about your manners, your culture, your character, your breeding, and your nature than it does the other person’s.

This may sound like the cat biting the hand that strokes it, because I make my living from the internet and blogs – but I think both have contributed greatly toward the disrespect so prevalent amongst people today.  Social media isn’t helping things either.  Last week, I had a comment left one one of my blogs that wasn’t just contrary, it was down-right mean.  She didn’t contribute anything to the conversation or to the topic at hand, whatsoever.  She just spat a little venom and slithered off.

I welcome commentators who disagree with me.  In fact, I had a fascinating conversation (in the comments on Self Help Daily) with one individual about sunning.  They really challenged my thinking and made me dig deeper in my research.  I loved it!  They were respectful and I greatly enjoyed the back and forth.  They made me reconsider a few things and I’m grateful that they took the time to leave comments.

But this gal – wow.  No good came from it and her whole demeanor was disrespectful and childish.

Very often, that’s the trademark of disrespect – childishness. A mature person will treat everyone around them with respect. When they disagree with an individual, they’ll do so in a manner that makes you want to hear them out, not run away, covering your ears and hoping a tree falls on them.

“Judging others against our own standards is being egoistical. Respect everyone’s right to be different!” – Wai-Fatt Yee

Every now and then, examine how you treat others – at home, at work, online, in the store….  Do you treat people with respect?  If not, do you realize that you’re hurting yourself far more than you are anyone else?  I don’t want you to do that!  I want the world to see you for the wonderful, classy, extra-cool person that you are.

You’ve got style, kid, why not let everyone see that?!?!

~ Joi

More Quotes about Respect

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are disrespectful, offensive, or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “RESPECT, Find Out What it Means to You

  1. That was great. This is what I would say sums up your article; “There’s a difference between stating your opinion and being downright nasty and disrespectful”. It was refreshing to read and kept me wondering a little if I have been disrespectful. I guess I have. I now need to make sure it doe snot happen again.
    Paramjit´s last blog post ..Subsitute Weight Gaining Habits with Healthy Habits

  2. Respect is an important part of living in a good world, but sometimes it can be hard. How do you respect someone who does not respect you? But, I think in a lot of cases that disrespect comes from taking your point of view way too seriously. When you fail to see the funny side of things, you miss out on a lot of perspective.
    Katie´s last blog post ..KTMG: RE: @RELEVANTMag Way to scar your kids for life! I think that a lot of people just don’t know how to be parents anymor…

  3. Katie, it is so incredibly hard to respect someone who doesn’t respect you – nearly impossible! I completely agree with you about the importance of seeing the funny side of life – it’s one of the pillars on which I’ve built my life… few things are more important than laughter!

  4. Paramjit, Thanks so much for the kind words! We all have been guilty at times, at least those of us who are human anyway. Fortunately, when we learn from our mistakes, we can improve in the area and, like you so perfectly say, make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  5. If peoples respect each other, we will not find any missunderstanding. Respecting the others is the key of solving many problems, opens new horizons and gives new ideas.

  6. I was helping my wife with a college paper on respect and i came upon this (Respect earned by showing respect creates SELF-RESPECT ) i guess that says it all

  7. I love this part, “Very often, that’s the trademark of disrespect – childishness. A mature person will treat everyone around them with respect. When they disagree with an individual, they’ll do so in a manner that makes you want to hear them out, not run away, covering your ears and hoping a tree falls on them.” I see so many posts around social media that as you say, reeks with disrespect. I thank you for writing this as it summed up my feelings exactly. I hope you don’t mind if I shared it on my wall.