Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I've been pondering respect lately.  Coming from a police background I tend to grant respect according to rank and experience almost without thinking because that is what we were taught to do.  However, like most coppers, the automatic granting of respect does not mean that it will continue forever without question, because for me longevity of respect is based upon the actions of the person.   It must be earnt if it is to last.

I'm sure most of you will have come across people at various times of your life who have lost your respect and like virginity, once lost it is very hard to get back.

So what exactly does respect mean?   In looking for the answer to that question I came across the following quotes which encompass aspects of respect that I embrace.

Mark Clement:
Leaders who win the respect of others are the ones who deliver more than they promise, not the ones who promise more than they can deliver.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Men are respectable only as they respect.

John Wooden:
Respect a man, and he will do all the more.

Each of these have common elements.  Firstly for respect to last it must be mutual.  You cannot demand respect if you do not give it.   Secondly, respect is earnt by example, put in more than is expected and most of the time you will earn the respect of people you associate with.  The caveat to that is that will only happen if you don't winge about the fact that you do more than others.

Demanding respect does not work for me.

The fact that you may be better looking, have more possessions, a red sports car or an hereditary title, or indeed bigger muscles, does not automatically mean that I must or will respect you.   Show respect to others and you will have taken a step in the right direction towards earning my respect.  But remember you need to work at it.  It cannot be something you turn on and off.  Your behaviour must be consistent.  Showing deference and respect to some whilst disrespecting others will negate any good will you have built with me.
What about you?  What makes you respect a person?


JTS said...

Respect is slowly earned and quickly lost! I agree with everything you wrote, Loz, it's a wonderful essay on respect. I liked that you added the requirement of consistency. Often people think that a few "good show" efforts should be deserving of eternal trust and respect. I also want to see that level of mutual respect carried out across the board, not just one or two relationships. I watch carefully to see how mr. good guy treats those in lesser roles than him, and those with whome he disagrees. I often ask myself if the way I conducted myself today was worthy of respect or did I earn something less than that from my coworkers and family. Thank you for yet another thought-provoking piece, that's what I have always enjoyed about your writing.

Loz said...

Thanks Josie - and you know as well as anyone that I have done things that have lost the respect of some people but sometimes that is inevitable and unavoidable. The thing you have to ask yourself when that happens is can you still respect yourself, and sometimes that is the most difficult of things to do.

SK Waller said...

You pretty much nailed it!

jazzygal said...

I definitely agree..respect can not be demanded but can only be earned. I think loyalty goes hand in hand with respect too. Appreciation of others and the work that they do can earn a person some respect too.

Yes respect can indeed be lost but we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves if we mess up sometimes. We are only human and can be overwhelmed by commitments/duties sometimes that may cause us to react in a way that we normally wouldn't. It's how we try to rectify that and earn the respect back that counts :-)

Great post!

xx Jazzy

JTS said...

You are right that sometimes we make a conscious decision that will result in the loss of respect from some people. In those cases, we may have reasons for our choices and actions that those who judge us are not aware of or do not fully understand.

meleah rebeccah said...

I think you said it best when you said, you need to give respect to get respect.

My New Normal said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

The thing I respest most in people is leading by example. There's nothing worse than someone who talks one way and then lives another.

MultipleMum said...

I am trying to teach my kids to respect. You know, themselves, each other, their belongings, other people and the Geege and me. It is a difficult concept to teach, but reading this I realise that understanding it is a good place to start! As with all things parenting, modelling is the best teaching tool I suppose!

River said...

Respect isn't something I spend time thinking about.
I give it, I receive it.
That's it.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Hi Loz -- so nice to meet you! thanks for visiting my blog -- isn't this an amazing space, where we meet people through other people and connect to brilliance all over the world?

On respect -- great post. For me, how I treat people is a reflection of me -- my values, morals, principles, beliefs. Treating everyone with respect is essential for me to walk with integrity. I amy not respect what you've done, or said, and I need to respect myself enough to be accountable for my actions/words, regardless of where the other person is coming from.

It is ultimately, the 'turn the other cheek', not to be hit, but to not let go of my values in all my relationships.

I always told my daughters growing up, It's okay to be angry. It doesn't give you the right to be cruel.

Same with respect. I may not respect what you stand for or what you've done. It doesn't give me the right to act disrespectfully.

Great post -- I too will be back!


Adoption of Jane said...

Great post Loz! I agree!
The way a person gains my respect is how well they treat others as well as myself. If you are a great friend to me but are rude in public or treat others like dirt then I want nothing to do with that person. Respect yourself, me, the earth and others and that's how I define respect.