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Let's Think About Respect

by Kaitlynn Mixter 4 months ago in humanity · updated 4 months ago
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The Art of Meeting People

"Respect is earned."

This is something we hear all of the time- especially today.

But, is it true?

Imagine you meet someone and they ask you for a glass of water. You hand that person an empty cup and tell them the water needs to be earned.

Is that really how we want to go about meeting people? Giving them less of what we have to give?

I don't believe so, and I don't think you do, either.

Here's the simple answer: Respect is freely given and freely taken away.

The long answer:

We meet people on a daily basis and if we aren't able to show them respect based off of their existence alone, how can we expect respect in return?

We should always give people a glass half full of respect- you don't know them, they're a stranger to you. You don't know if they're struggling mentally and/or emotionally. You can always pour more respect into the glass, or empty it as needed.

If a stranger is rude to you, why would you give them the power to upset you?

Two of my favorite quotes representing this:

-"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment," Marcus Aurelius.

-"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom," Viktor Frankl.

Your reactions are a direct reflection of your soul. Is your soul full of anger? If so, why?

What this means is that our freely given respect is not meant for others, but for ourselves. If we are quick to anger, who are we upsetting other than ourselves? Do you think you'll positively impact that stranger's day with your negative reaction? Probably not.

Respect and kindness are the alternative. Respect and kindness allow for growth- in ourselves and in those around us.

Understand that the rude stranger might be battling something internal- the loss of a loved one or home, a battle with addiction. There are things inside of people that we cannot see but must acknowledge. Should they be taking their anger out on you? Absolutely not, but here's a fact:

We cannot change people, we can only change our reactions to them.

Focus on what YOU can alter- and that's yourself.

If you meet anger with anger, then you have allowed for two people to suffer in that negativity- you and the stranger.

If you meet anger with kindness, then you have created something positive. Maybe you can even help them overcome whatever is inside of them.

At this point, you might say that they deserve your disrespect and anger.

To which, I would ask you: Have you deserved the respect of every person you've met? Have you been standoffish or rude?

We spend so much time examining the words and actions of others that we neglect to examine ourselves. Because of this, we loose the control that we should have. We become reflections of others emotions rather than manifestations of our own.

I challenge you, and myself, to look internally. Learn and understand yourself. Pass judgment, not externally to others, but internally to yourself.

We are not responsible for determining the value of others. We are responsible for determining the value of ourselves.

If we actively try to create a positive environment, that positivity will flow to those around us. We expect others to be understanding of us when we have a bad day, but we fail to do the same in return.

Take back control of yourself and have respect for all- you might need respect when you don't deserve it as well.


About the author

Kaitlynn Mixter


Writing has been a passion of mine for roughly twelve years. Within that time, I have never had the courage to make my stories public, however, this site has given me the boost I need to take action.

I hope you enjoy!

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