Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Did RESPECT die… and I missed the obituary?

Headstone

There aren’t a lot of things I absolutely demand in life, because a lot of things aren’t really worth fighting for, when it comes down to brass tacks.  For example, if my dinner comes to the table cold, that’s okay. I won’t send it back to the kitchen.  Because it is not that big of a deal to me.  Besides, I think I once read an article that said it’s better for your digestive system to not eat food that is too hot.  And let’s say someone were to step on my toes, I’d probably squeal a bit and likely blame it on my own clumsiness.  Yes, some things in life are wildly irritating, but most things are not worth getting into a fight over.

However, the one thing I will fight for in this life… is respect.  You might be bigger than me (by a good foot or more), but I have to tell you that I will go toe to stubbed toe with you when it comes down to respect.  And just so you know, I’m also the person who will fight for YOUR right to be respected, too.

Headstone

I’m not sure I understand exactly what has happened to respect or its’ often ignored little brother: simple common courtesy.  While I’m aware that experts say we have become a society of people who have developed an unnatural sense of entitlement, I’m not sure why respect had to be bumped off somewhere along the way.  If you’ve not been subjected to this rather unpleasant personality trait of entitlement, allow me to give you the definition that is rattling around the interweb: A sense of entitlement is an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions or treatment at the hands of others.  Oh, what’s that you say?  You are familiar with this thing called entitlement?  Oh, yes.  Once upon a time this business of entitlement might have just been labeled as Bratty Behavior – but now we are asked to use that more politically correct label of Entitlement. Don’t think that anybody is actually happy about it either.  In fact, people seem to grumble about it more than ever, as there are countless articles circulating out there about how we’re seeing a “growing entitlement mindset” out in the world.  But, I’m not as upset about that, as I am about the growing mindset of plain old downstream disrespect.  You see, I can’t be upset about people feeling entitled to things like a good education, appropriate medical care or life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (which, BTW, I don’t think should harm other individuals).  But I absobloominglutely believe that I can be upset about the death of respect and the casualty of common courtesy.

It is a mystery to me why slammed doors, huffing down hallways and behaving badly have become acceptable behavior when a handful of simple words would take less effort and are received so much more kindly, with better results.  Irish radio personality Frankie Byrne once said, “Respect is love in plain clothes.”  For a nation who wears yoga pants to the grocery store, you’d think that respect wouldn’t be so hard to put on.  Yet, we are resistant.

Demanding respect isn’t always the way to get respect, because asking for it can make some people resentful.  To get respect you have to give it, but what happens when your efforts get kicked to the sideboards by the disrespectful?  You can try to understand where the disrespect comes from, whether it’s the trickle-down theory (they’re not respected or heard – therefore you are not worthy of their time or understanding) or some problem with much deeper roots, but you have to determine how much time and effort you are willing to spend, depending on the level of bad behavior.  At the end of the day, however, you have to decide whether you are going to speak your mind and stand your ground and employ, to the best of your ability, your own basket of respect and common courtesy.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Aretha Franklin sang, “…find out what it means to me.” I believe what we all want is a little respect when we get home, when we go to work and we’re out in the world. We know what we want and it should not be so hard to make an effort to give a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in return.

While I might not be a big fan of this Sense of Entitlement, I think we all have a right to request that which the Queen of Soul sings of.  I read a great article by Leo Sevigny that summed up how to do so quite well: “Communicate your objectives and actions clearly to the person you wish to command respect from, with intention and with confidence.”  Sevigny also talked about the importance of treating the other person with respect. “Listen to what the other person has to say and emphasize your respect for their opinion and actions.”

English Poet Phillip James Bailey wrote, “Respect is what we owe; love, what we give.” I totally agree with that, because I’m a lover – not a fighter. But, when it comes to respect – I will fight you for it. [And I will TOTALLY love and respect you, if you do, too.]

xo – t.

 

“Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Entitlement is the opposite of enchantment.” – Guy Kawasaki

Here lies RESPECT

Here lies RESPECT