When and How Is Respect Earned?
How many times have you heard phrases like, “You have to earn my respect”, or, “Respect has to be earned”? I have heard that said many times in my life. There have been times when I’ve heard one person say it to another. Sometimes it has been said to me or about me. Other times I have even said it myself. Thing is though the more I think about the idea of having to earn respect the more I question what it really means. When and how is respect earned exactly? How do you do it and how do you know?
Click to watch my video about having to earn respect
If I had a toothache and needed some help I’d go see a dentist. A dentist would know what was wrong with my tooth and how to best help me with it. I would have respect for their judgment and experience. More so than someone in a bar who said they know a bit about teeth and would have a look if I bought them a drink. Neither have actually done anything in front of me to earn any respect to have confidence in them. Yet I’d choose the dentist. I’d trust their motives and ability to help me rather than the guy in the bar.
That’s a professional respect. On a personal level when it comes to respect having to be earned I have noticed there is a pattern. Normally when someone tells me I have to earn their respect it’s been on the back of them actually disrespecting me in some way. Telling me I must earn their respect actually sounds like, “I will be as bad mannered, offensive, abusive and downright nasty as I want. I’ll decide when I’ll no longer treat you this way. I’ll eventually decide the standard you must reach before I’ll show you any positive regard. Until then just suck it up.”
Perhaps ask someone who claims respect is earned could two questions. Firstly, “Is that what you teach your children?” Would they really allow others to be as hurtful and abusive as they want towards their children? Would they tell their children it’s because of a fault or deficit on their part, not the aggressors? Is it reasonable to tell a child that they must reach a standard or level decided by someone else before they’ll stop being horrid to them?
The second question is this. “What exactly have you done to earn mine?” I am aware this question may sound passive aggressive however I think it is more about exploring with intent.
I rather believe that respect is given, not earned. Over the years I have given respect and shown positive regard to others, but over time they have eroded that respect away with their attitudes and behaviours towards me, while telling me I don’t deserve theirs for no reason other than what is in their heads. It’s as if they’re justifying their abuse. Their behaviour and attitude towards me led me to lose respect for them, sometimes a piece at a time until maybe all that’s left is pity and disappointment towards them.
#respect #selfrespect #earnrespect
This article was written by sentientcounselling