Too many people approach others with one of two mindsets:
- I’ll respect you if you respect me.
- You have to earn my respect.
Both of these have a problem. The same problem. They are focused on self.
Whenever we put the primary focus on self, all of our interactions begin to become skewed. We now filter everything through that selfish lens. The moment something doesn’t fit our ideal or preference it goes south and usually pretty quickly.
A better way is to offer respect. Period. No caveats, no disclaimers, no if/then statements. Just respect.
Our relationships will be better and more meaningful. Our interactions will be more pleasant. If there is tension it won’t be on our side as often. People will actually like being around us, or at least some will. We will find more fulfillment and less conflict. The conflict that does happen will be easier to resolve and move past because there won’t be the added insult of disrespect to also deal with.
Respect goes beyond being nice and pleasant. It is a mindset, an attitude, a posture toward the other person.
Respect sees the other person as important, valued. It recognizes that they have something to offer. It sees them as human, not a label or category. Respect causes us to find the common ground and then navigate the differences. Respect allows us to disagree, but not be enemies. Respect opens the way for us to listen and accept the viewpoint of the other without becoming defensive.
Respect is not about being a doormat or a pushover. It isn’t even about being passive. Respect is a choice to see each person as someone of value no matter anything else.
Imagine how much better our interactions and relationships in life would be if we infused more respect…