Respect is the outcome of integrity and generosity of spirit in personal as well as public life. Both are important.
Respect of others is a critical measure of the significance of your own life. Have you noticed as people grow older, how important being respected becomes to them? As life plays itself out and the end seems near, the only things that seem important are love and a healthy regard by those who matter to us. Respect is a measure of a life well spent, a life that was useful to others.
Men had it easy in earlier times. Regardless of his position outside, a man was the king in his own home, with wife and children pandering to every wish, tiptoeing around him and creating a respectable aura for him. Remember how Grandma treated Grandpa? Or, how our parents barely spoke with their own Dads out of a respectful fear and a distant regard? Grandma made sure to create a respectful aura around the man of the house, and he reveled in that feeling of regard.
Such respectful pandering creates an aura around a person, which forces others to look at him in a new light, a rub off from the regard of others. Those men earned that respect merely by being the providers and protectors. As roles diffused, the man’s aura diminished and he came to be treated as less God-like. Now he had to earn that respect by other means. Some accepted this easier than others.
Respect does have a ripple effect. You tend to respect those who are respected by others. And so, it becomes important to be respected by those immediately around you. Certainly there is a regard you gain by sheer dint of your position or your relationship to someone. But far more precious is the regard you earn through who you are, how you conduct yourself, and how you interact with others.
The first step towards gaining respect of others is to be able to respect your own self. The confidence and aura that a healthy self-respect gives is unmatchable. It serves as a magnet that attracts the regard of others. In order to respect yourself, you have to live and conduct life on your own terms, in a sincere and honest fashion. Understand what you value most, and then live by your values. Curiously, self-respect increases further when you see others respecting you for your qualities or contributions. And so it becomes a golden circle – self-respect arouses respect in others, which further enhances self-respect!
The second step is to respect others. When you do that, you attract respect back. Respecting another means to treat all as equals, make time for them, and appreciate them. It means lending an ear and letting them know they are important to you. Inculcate the belief that in some way everyone is better than you at something or the other. This nurtures humility, which is an attractive, respected quality.
Living by your values ensures that you are consistent and dependable. People appreciate dependability. It is a virtue that earns you a reputation like nothing else. So, always keep your word and do what you promise if you wish to earn people’s respect. Say what you mean and do what you say.
Sticking to the truth no matter what the provocation or outcome is a laudable quality that earns you high regard from all. Always doing what is right earns you lasting respect. Don’t just do what is expected of you – everyone does that anyway. Step up to participate in causes you believe in, and to speak up for what is right.
Respect is the outcome of integrity and generosity of spirit in personal as well as public life. Both are important. One at the cost of the other exposes your underbelly and leads to loss of reputation. Inculcating a passion and pursuing excellence in public life, and ensuring a good character in personal life, are the keys to earning respect all round. It is when you are above reproach in both that you gain lasting respect and love from those around you. Respect cannot be taken from someone you bully, it’s earned from a life-time of self-respect and integrity.