Overused. Shallow. Ambiguous. This word is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented word in the English language. It can connote so many different things, based upon the person and their particular circumstance. We use “respect” often. But even more often, others have no clue what we REALLY mean.
So, how can we learn to genuinely “respect” one another?
First, let’s look at it this way…
One reason we do not respect one another is not because we don’t know how, but rather because we don’t know what.
Here’s my favorite example to demonstrate this point. Remember when you were little and your parents would say “respect your elders”? Well, based on the particular elder and the situation, respecting my elders could vary greatly from moment to moment.
I remember my granddad and I would call to the doodlebugs in the sand with pine needles. And then by early afternoon, he wanted to take a nap. He wanted his fun and entertainment with us kids to be respected, but yet, he also wanted his quiet time to be respected as well.
My grandmother loved when I’d bake with her, but at 3pm when her “stories” came on, unless I was going to sit quietly in front of All My Children with her, I had to be out of her space. She wanted her past down recipes to be loved and respected just as much as her TV time.
And as a kid, hearing the phrase “respect your elders” was too vague, if you didn’t know of what and when to respect them.
The point here is that respect comes in many different forms. So, until we can get clear about what we want respect around, we cannot expect others to truly have the same appreciation for what we revere.
Now, let’s consider for a moment, next time you feel disrespected…
If you are able to identify exactly what you want respect around, chances are, others can understand and appreciate you better. And next time you hear someone say they want to be respected, ask them “around what”?
Creating a world where we all feel respected is a major feat we are in the thick of right now. Get in touch with what’s truly in need of respect without ambiguity and you are likely to be heard.