Respect strengthens connections. Respect is a way of treating or thinking about someone with regard for the fact that they have as much value as you have. Respect is polite behavior, treating people in a positive manner that acknowledges them for who they are, and giving due regard for their feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions.
Respect must be earned. That statement is only half true. Respect is both given and earned. We give respect first. Respect is a choice and a lifestyle. The level of respect that we treat others with says more about us than them. When we treat ourselves with respect, we make it easier for others to treat us with respect.
When I meet someone for the first time, I treat them with the average level of respect I have decided to treat all people in the world with. This basic level says something about my own character choices, nothing else. As I get to know the person better, my level of respect for them may increase or decrease dependent upon how they behave, what I learn about them and how they treat me.
But the maximum level of that decrease is again dependent upon my own character, not theirs. I have a minimum standard of respect that I treat all people out of reverence for their creator. Even if my respect for a person has fallen to my minimal level, I recognize their value as a human being and I will be civil, polite, and kind. I may not have much regard for their skills in a particular area; I may not like their behavior or opinion; I may choose to be more formal, distant, and reserved; I may set up protective boundaries; and I may choose not to be in their company any more than necessary. But I still recognize their basic value as a human. I recognize that our core value is the same before God.
In the same way, the maximum level my respect increases is also dependent on how I see all people as the same before their creator. No one is worth more and no one is worth less than any other person. Their basic value is all the same as mine. I may increase my respect for their skills, for their character, or for their compassion. I may seek to recognize and honor those things in their life and use their example as something for me to aspire to and want to grow more like them. But our core value is the same before God.
Respect is dependent on your internal values not on what is going on around you at the moment. Respect is about how you treat other people, even when things are not going to your liking, even when you are tired, frustrated, and feeling upset. When the person you are speaking with is not helping you resolve your problem, you must be extra careful to continue to treat people with respect. It can be tempting to take your frustration out on people who are not being helpful with unkind words and an aggressive attitude, but that will not help you get your needs met. Handling it with grace in a civil and polite way will make that other person’s day a little easier, and it may help you have a better chance to get what you need.
Respect is a way of treating or thinking about someone with regard for the fact that they have as much value as you have. Respect is polite behavior, treating people in a positive manner that acknowledges them for who they are, giving due regard for their feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions. All people want to be treated with respect. Respect strengthens connections.
This is an excerpt from the book Connections: Master the Art of Relationship
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