R E S P E C T
I was frustrated at work today. No details for you (you nosy people). Oddly enough, it was in that moment of frustration that I had a personal realization of what respect really means and what it looks like. You guys know what personal definitions are. They are things like – Home is the place where when you go there they have to take you in. I had no intention of creating my own little way of looking at respect, but it surfaced unbidden in my mind as I tried to figure out how to get someone to see my point of view without throttling them.
Put simply, you know you respect someone when you can disagree with them completely without the slightest thought that they are stupid, inferior or morally corrupt. It’s a fun way to look at it because it allows you to identify who you really respect as opposed to who you really just put up with. Most family members pass the test in a family that relates to each other in a healthy manner. My relationship with my brothers is a good example. I grew up arguing with both of them about everything under the sun (yes, I know what that says about me). When we were all younger those arguments would lead to hard feelings. I would walk away and wonder what was wrong with them and based on my own words and behavior I’m sure they thought the same about me. As we got older those hard feelings seemed less and less prevalent. Now if we were to find ourselves in an argument it would be rare for me to think anything negative about them personally. It’s just a simple disagreement between people who respect each other.
It’s funny how obvious it is when you think about it. Let’s say you have a friend who can’t keep a job because of things like punctuality, attendance and attitude. It’s very hard to commiserate with them without thinking man, this is your own fault, you need to grow up and get your act together. I know I’ve thought that. What it shows us is that the person thinking those thoughts does not respect the person that they are thinking it about. If they really respected them then they would be thinking Hold on friend, you’ll get another chance, and next time you’re going to be awesome. It’s hard to fake respect. Sure, you can fool the person who you don’t respect, but you can’t fool yourself. Your thoughts will reveal your true feelings every time.
I was thinking about this when I was driving home today and I started wondering how respect ties in to happiness. I would assert that our happiness would grow the more we surround ourselves with people that we respect and disassociate with people that we don’t respect. Obviously I don’t have any statistics or data to back me up on this, but I would wager that depressed and unhappy people are exposed more frequently to people that they don’t respect than people who are happy and satisfied with life. I know that my personal opinion is that life is easier when you are surrounded by people that you respect. You never have to wonder about all the negative things that swarm around people that aren’t worthy of respect.
So, let’s do some homework. Think about your relationships. Who do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about vs. those who you give the benefit of the doubt? Let’s figure out who we really respect. And if you are in the unfortunate position of being surrounded by people that you do not respect… well, first I would pray. But then I would start making some new friends.
Posted on June 18, 2012, in Personal Development and tagged depression, disagreement, Growing Up, happiness, maturing, Mental Health, Philosophy, Relationship, Respect, thinking man. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.