Friday, July 24, 2009

Respect from Others

As this finishes up my trilogy of respect I am realizing it makes a triangle (or a circle) when you connect respect from others to self-respect. When you respect yourself, you can respect others; as you respect others, they will respect you; as you get respect from others, it increases your self-respect. This is what I call a positive feedback loop.

I mentioned in the last post that respect is one of the intangibles that we are not going to run out of--the more you give the more you get, making it an abundant resource. (For those who have started reading this recently, or who have gotten lost in all the details I am providing and have forgotten what this whole segment is about: because we are approaching a time when many things won't be abundant, I am trying to list all the things that I think we really need, and at this point I am a little over halfway through.)

Each of us does better as we get respect from others. But respect, as many people have pointed out, is something you earn. As we respect others and do good things, others will respect us. This won't be true for everyone, however, and hopefully we will have enough self-respect that if we know we are being helpful and treating others well, if they return our kindness with spite, this is about them and not about us. While respect from others in necessary, when this has grown into healthy self-respect, it isn't easily shaken.

Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People--Again, the fifth habit, "Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood", mirrors the way I think this works--you should also seek first to respect others before you expect respect
Steve Hein, 'Respect'--A page full of lots and lots of resources on respect; the link to info about Jane Bluestein is especially worth a look (she is full of ideas about teaching respect in schools)
Please Respect Me--A page with ideas on earning respect, the differences between respect and fear, and respect and politeness, as well as quotes about respect

Quote of the Day: "When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us." - Arapaho Proverb

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