Whenever you hear the word respect, it is hard not to remember the wonderful voice of the late Aretha Franklin. Her song “Respect”, in which she sings about needing and wanting a little RESPECT, still rings true for many people today. Everyone needs it and in our society we need to be respectful before expecting the same from our peers. You could say it’s an emotional commodity traded between people. If two people respect each other, they can pursue a happier, conflict-free relationship. If not, you can only expect the relationship to fall down the drain and be filled with hate, anger, and resentment. Of course, no one likes it.
Undeniably, respect is one of the most important ingredients in any relationship. It may sound like such an idealistic statement, but we can only live in peace with others if we learn to respect them despite your differences in culture, race, religion, and even in ability. It might be so easy to say, but as you might know by now, it’s very difficult to do. In order to respect people who do not share the same values as us, we are asked to make compromises. This often means having to look past the mistakes of others and disregard your conflicting beliefs with them. In short, respect is about choosing to see the good of others and appreciating their talents, skills and what they can bring.
If you are someone who is building better relationships with friends, partners, or family, you will find that the first step in this exercise is to respect them. Only then can you build mutual trust, even love. Here are some simple ways you can practice to be respectful of others:
Do you know that feeling you get when telling a story, and you feel the other person isn’t that interested? It is because the person was not listening to you. What we haven’t realized as adults is that listening is really the most important step in communication. It’s really like the way our teachers used to say, “If anyone’s talking, listen.” When we listen to others, we make them feel that we are interested in their ideas. So go ahead and give your friend time to share her story. Listen to it, and as you go along, you will see that it is only by listening that we can truly understand a person.
2. Say “Thank you!”.
Say thank you. Even if it’s just because a stranger has held the door for you. Even more if your parents gave you a present or if your wife took the time to cook your favorite meal for dinner. Say thank you!” and let them know that their efforts are appreciated. It is so easy to forget this sometimes, but imagine the happiness they will feel upon hearing those two precious words from you. Thanking people doesn’t just mean expressing gratitude. It’s also to show people that you respect them and that their efforts have not been wasted doing something for you.
3. Be nice.
As the centuries-old maxim goes: “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. So be nice. However, don’t do it just because you expect others to be nice to you too. Do it because you know the other person is someone who deserves it.
4. Be aware of other people’s time.
If you’ve been planning on meeting friends at 8 o’clock in the evening, be there before the clock hand even hits the number 12. Paying attention to other people’s time is a very underrated quality. People appreciate it when you show up on time – at meetings, dinners, and especially special events.
Time is our most precious resource as humans. It doesn’t come in endless amounts, so make sure you’re not wasting other people’s time by just being aware.
5. Be polite.
Being polite is free, and it rarely results in bad things. The alternative is to be rude, which is the direct opposite of your goal of being more respectful. Know what phrases and gestures convey respect to others. For example, you say “please” when you need something and say “sorry” if you accidentally did something wrong. You don’t point your fingers at anyone because it is never considered polite. The key here is to practice this no matter where you are, who you are with, or who you meet with.
6. Be honest.
Being honest and honest about how you feel will be appreciated by everyone in your life. If you respect someone, you know they deserve the truth and nothing less. Lying has never resulted in anything good, so let go of that attitude. However, there is a fine line between honesty and lack of tact.
Think about the words you are going to say first. Are your thoughts one-sided? Will it be bad if you say that? Practice honesty, but never use it to hurt other people. You can be right about something, but you can be wrong the way you say it. Be honest and show people they can count on you to be honest. When they know you’re being honest, they’ll learn to trust you.
By reading this, we are sure you have come to understand that respect is a prerequisite for a lot of things in any relationship. But before you even practice this with other people, learn to practice it on yourself. Self-respect is the most important thing you will learn to do. If you respect yourself, you need to be in tune with how you are feeling and be honest about it. If you ever fail, say sorry and respect yourself enough to be kind to yourself. People who respect themselves tend to practice respect better because they know their worth, their abilities and what they can do. If you learn to appreciate yourself as a person, you will certainly learn to find the good in others as well.