Respect is a broad concept that refers to the appreciation of each person’s inherent worth. As a result, allowing humans to exercise autonomy and make their own decisions is critical, as is a dedication to wellbeing, above and beyond. Respect necessitates the prior understanding of and consideration for persons involved in the research’s culture, values, customs, beliefs, and behaviors, both individual and collective. It also necessitates a conscious awareness of differences in values and culture, to prevent “difference blindness,” which can jeopardize both trusting relationships and integrity. Respect entails respecting the rights, privacy, dignity, entitlements, and diversity of persons.
Children are taught about respect at a young age because it is vital in developing sentiments of trust, safety, and well-being. “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” we tell them, implying that embracing others for who they are will allow the same to happen to them, regardless of our differences. We want children to feel comfortable in their skin and to know that their ideas and opinions matter.
When we take this concept to its logical conclusion, as in the phrase “respect isn’t given, it’s earned,” a problem can occur. It’s rather prevalent, and it means that you have to work hard to gain people’s respect, essentially showing your value. This is especially true when we consider respect in terms of admiration for someone’s character, values, or work. If you want others to look up to you, you must do something worthy of reverence. This, on the other hand, is certainly a higher level of respect.
“Respect is earned, not given” implies that you cannot force someone to respect you simply because you want them to. People who follow this proverb understand that not everyone is born equal and that they are not obligated to love or respect someone simply because they exist. To gain their respect, you must demonstrate that you are deserving of their time. It’s not always possible to “earn” someone’s respect in a physical sense, but when it is, it implies demonstrating that you’re capable of standing on the same level as everyone else.
You are not, however, obligated to respect someone if you believe they do not deserve it. If you believe that others must earn your respect, you will not appreciate someone unless you know something about them that is worthy of reverence. It means you won’t respect an older person simply because they’re older than you (although respecting the elderly is a cultural norm in many countries), a higher-ranking employee (especially if they’re not even competent at their job), or a neighbor (if they prove to be a bad neighbor).
However, beneath all of that, there is a basic degree of respect that people often overlook. It’s the amount of courtesy you extend to others just because you know that they are on an equal footing with you. Not everyone deserves your adoration without having to work for it, but everyone deserves fundamental courtesy. Respect does not have to be earned for the most basic level of human decency that should be present in your daily dealings with people.
In essence, there are two sides to respect. You can respect someone and regard them as an authority figure, or you can respect that others are your equals and treat them as individuals. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Some persons are deserving of extra respect, and in some instances, they can be recognized as authorities. But expecting others to treat you as an authority figure without having done anything, while refusing to respect others as humans, is absurd. Without a superiority mindset, you may be respectful and respected. Respect isn’t always viewed in black-and-white terms. You could be a person who feels that respect is earned while still opening doors for random strangers. You understand that respect must be earned, but you will not be disrespectful to individuals you don’t know.
Many individuals misunderstand that respect does not always imply friendliness, politeness, or etiquette. It can happen, for example, when you respect a person’s desire to keep some aspects of their life private. However, you can be kind without having to respect someone. You can be kind and polite if you encounter someone in need, but it’s not something that will ever cross your mind again. The person will appreciate it, but a small gesture like this does not have to be significant.
At the same time, you can demonstrate respect for other individuals in your life. You have the option of respecting your coworkers, supervisors, family members, and friends, those who are a consistent presence in your life. Certain people in your life don’t deserve to be revered since they aren’t deserving of respect. You can still be kind to them in regular conversation, but when it comes to major issues, if you don’t respect someone, it will be tough to follow their advice if it contradicts your own.
You can’t live your life with an entitled mindset, expecting others to prove themselves to you by catering to your every whim while simultaneously ignoring or refusing to accept them as human beings. We’re all just that, after all. Human beings are created equal. You’re not better than everyone else, and you don’t need to be respected more than anyone else. You can also acknowledge that other individuals are on an equal footing with you without jeopardizing your status or rights. You having regard for others does not imply that they will have less respect for you; it is not a “respect pie” in which if they get more, you will get less. In essence, always be respectful.