Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kissing the Ring

Respect is easy to spell, easy to say and not so easy to live, show and pay. There may be a set of behaviors, a way of acting that includes an objective minimum of respect every human deserves. Things like listening to people and hearing what they say may fall into this type of everyone would call respect, and things like pulling out a gun and shooting someone in the face may fall into the not objectively super respectful category. Then there are personal concepts of respect.

Each person you come in contact with may have things they expect and consider respectful that only they have; unique to them. Like the mob boss, king or queen who expects everyone coming into their office or throne room to kiss the ring they wear. As a show of respect.

Many will feel respected if their ego is stroked, their accomplishments (real or imagined) revered and paying homage to them may help them be open to helping you, or at least not standing in your way. So if you, or I, want something such a person has, or want to do something in a place (literal or metaphoric) that is theirs, then paying homage to them and their wonderfullness may be necessary to have them allow whatever it is you want to get done to happen. To not have them work against you requires paying them respect as they define it. Right or wrong, they can block or get out of the way depending on what their personal sense of being treated with respect is and whether or not you meet that standard, the standard that may be unique to them alone.

Some people feel respect is you giving them what they want when they want it. No matter whether they deserve it or it is good for them to have it. They want what they want. And the moment you don't give it to them, they may accuse you of treating them without respect, they may experience it as disrespectful. Hard to accept, but there is no way for everyone to feel treated with respect by you or me at all times. We can and probably should treat everyone with respect all the time, but remember they may not agree that you are treating them with respect.

Like beauty, respect can be in the eye of the beholder. A behavior which one person may see a deeply respectful, another may see as the opposite. Some will feel disrespected simply because you don't agree with them. It may be easy to mistake agreement and compliance for respect, and to misconstrue disagreement for disrespect, and this can lead people, including us, to feeling disrespected.

That leaves us a challenge that can feel unsatisfying: to treat people with respect while knowing they may not feel respected anyway, and may speak or act against our goals because of it. Not all of your goals, plans, or even existence may be supported by everyone you encounter and it might be because they don't feel respected by you. Having others feel respected by us is not always something that is in our power to achieve. It still remains worth respecting others. In all cases. Makes the world a better place, and likely makes it easier to pursue your goals as well. Even if everyone will not support you, still good to respect them.

It is worth trying to understand what a specific person may experience as respect, whether or not we agree, or in fact whether or not it actually is respect. If we want people to work with us toward our goals, something all entertainment requires in some way, paying attention to and validating someone's sense of what they experience as being respected is a good idea. Even if we find kissing their ring, literally or metaphorically, unpleasant, the cost benefit may still mean it is very much worth doing.

Knowing what needs doing, having the insight to realize what you need to do to treat others as they want to be treated is not always easy. Nor is it always easy to treat yourself with respect, day to day and long term. But it will always make sense to treat yourself with respect. You are the one person you will always work with and can never ignore. People have tried, and it doesn't work.

Honing one's ability to see what yourself and others experience as respect can only pay dividends. Even if you decide not to do something you deem unreasonable, unconscionable, or otherwise unpleasant to make someone feel respected, good to know that. And maybe find a way to soften the blow, or brace for the fallout. After all, no one honestly says at an award acceptance speech "I did it alone." Which brings me to next post's topic: the Coalition of the Eager.

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this posted by David August at 1:11 PM 

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