Respect is an Earned Gift, Not Something You Demand

May 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm 4 comments

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I’ve heard the word respect thrown around since I was a kid. I was taught to “respect” my elders no matter how immoral they were just because they were older than me. In the late 70’s the phrase “don’t dis me, man” came into vogue. Over and over throughout the years I have heard about respect, I’ve had it demanded of me, and I’ve had it withheld for various reasons. Respect had become something elusive to me. Something I just quite couldn’t put my finger on.

Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser I think I am beginning to understand respect a little better, especially in light of events over the last couple of years. It’s not the attribute my Dad taught me about. Nor is it a commodity that can be demanded from someone. It’s so much more and goes far beyond a perceived slight or offense, accolades or awards, empty words or phrases.

Respect is something that is an earned gift. Now let me explain. Overall, respect is something that an individual must work hard at earning from others. He or she does that buy living an honest and honorable life. That means he doesn’t cheat, lie or steal. He or she means what they say and are true to their word. That person is dependable, solid, and does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Respect comes in when someone he or she interacts with sees these wonderful attributes and honors him with the gift of their respect. See it’s a two way street. One person gives his best and in return he receives the gift of respect. Plain and simple. We all have the ability to both earn and give it.

Now let’s take a look at how our society sees respect. Society tells us that if you have a lot of money, appear on TV or in magazines a lot, a politician, a leader of some sort or a celebrity you command respect. Sorry, I just don’t see it that way. Neither does our subconscious mind. It becomes a binary message that causes turmoil in our brain. We are told to respect these people, yet when we interact with them or hear stories of the way they treat people with disdain our subconscious can’t combine the two opposites. It just can’t put disrespectful behavior together with respect and make us accept it. So we experience an uneasiness deep within us that we often can’t explain.

In comes down to this. To have the respect of others we must first be respectful of them. That means we show up on time when we make a commitment. We do what we promise. We are nice and easy to get a long with. We do the right things. We choose to earn respect rather than demand it. Once we do that then the gift of respect is returned to us naturally. Others then honor us with the gift of respect which is then given freely fro the heart. We cannot coerce it, we cannot demand it, we cannot legislate it because it just doesn’t work that way. We can try but we will always fail.

Think about the people that you really respect. Do they demand it from you or is your respect earned by the way they treat you. Now turn that around. Are you earning the gift of respect from your fellow man? It’s something to think about. I know I do.

Promise yourself that starting today you will earn respect not demand it. While you’re at it also be more careful with giving your respect. Don’t be so free with it. Make those who receive that precious gift earn it. The world will be a better place because of it.

If you are a respectful small business owner I want to earn your respect. I promise to do that with my actions. I will show you what I am made of if you give me the chance to help you tell the world your story. My contact info is:

Michael Irvin
Creative Project Manager
913.677.7060 cell: 913.530.7030

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Monlux  |  May 26, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I agree with your statement that respect should be earned. But I have noted lately that Civility is on the decline. Courteous discussion is on the decline. And this is true in the business sector as well as in the Mall where juvenile delinquents revolt me with their ugly attire and thuggish manners. Call me a cranky old man waving his fist, but I’m finding that more folks are holding an in-the-trenches-paranoid-tone when they received a phone call. The idea of letting your voice smile for you has gone on an endless vacation. True, times aren’t the best for a lot of folks. But does that mean common courtesy should be forgotten?

  • 2. mirvin1129  |  May 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    You just gave me a topic for a future blog! Thanks and let that lovely smile of yours come through in your voice.


  • 3. Tobin Truog  |  May 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    HI Michael!

    The way I try to look at things, good participation on social media sites / tools fosters mutual respect. If I use Facebook and Twitter and others to connect and engage with people…to really find out what you need and who you need to connect with…then respect will breed respect.

    So, thanks for a great post that brings a basic idea – respect – into focus.

    I look forward to connecting with you again soon!

    • 4. mirvin1129  |  May 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I really agree with your idea that respect will breed respect. Very good stuff. Thanks!


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