Respect, a word that we use a lot, just what does it mean. To me respect is something I give everyone, but is something that one has to earn to keep. That is to say that I will respect you until you give me reason not to. I will not insist upon our meeting that you earn my respect for you, I grant it as a condition of your humanity.However, respect comes in different degrees and types. When I get in my car and drive down the road I respect the right of others to use the same highway and follow the rules of the road not just because of the law, but out of respect for other drivers. At the same time I demand that they return that respect. Cut me off and slow down in front of me and you are liable to have me zip around you and return the favor. Pull out onto the Interstate and drive very slow so that I have to slow down, and then you speed up will probably make me flip you off as I pass. I could go on and on, but you drivers know well what it is I mean.

As a form of respect I trust everyone to be what it is they say they are until I have reason not to believe them. Then in the words of that wise old sage, “Fuck me once shame on you, fuck me twice shame on me.” We are polite to one another because of our underlying respect for one another. When you bump into someone it is respect for that person which leads you to say excuse me, pardon, or I am sorry. Those who don’t do this are not only rude, they are disrespectful. Bumping into me and not saying excuse me is one thing, but to shove me out of your way is fighting disrespect.

To use certain disrespectful words the Supreme Court has called “fighting words” and is not protected speech. This respect has to be taught, it does not come naturally. If your parent did not teach it to you, the school of hard knocks will!

If someone is talking, and you just start talking over them, this is not only rude, but highly disrespectful of the one who was speaking. If you walk into the middle of a conversation and start your own you are showing your disrespect for the ones talking and the one who was listening. And if you are in that conversation and leave the one you were in to continue on with the intruder you are disrespecting the person you were talking to initially. Maybe you don’t give a damn about their respect, but if you do, either for them or theirs for you, don’t hurt their feeling like that. Hurt feeling is what disrespect generates, and many time a rise of anger because of the perceived feeling of disrespect.

If you were sitting and talking with someone you like, and someone else walks up, and you just jump up and you abandon the conversation, and take off with that person without a moment to explain your action, if it were you that were left would you not feel dissed?

We live in a world of perception, of how we perceive others, and how they see us. How well our perception matches reality is a testimony to our insight. How we deal with other’s misperception of us is a judge of our character. The effort that we go to correct a misperception deepens upon who the one that is misperceiving. I do not care if most people think that I am an arrogant fool, for I know that as people come to know me they will realize what other’s perceive as arrogant is actually confidence in myself and my abilities. But for some people I do care how they see me, it is way too late to change me into that which I am not, but a greater explanation what I am and how I act in the world may be in order.

The degrees of respect we allow others differ by that person important to us, and their station in life. Respecter of persons? Yes, for sure. Most of us hold those who are, or have, served in the armed forces in a higher respect than those who have not served. Of course the converse is true; some people despise the military and will spit on anyone, at their own peril, in uniform.

Until we have reason not to we give the police a special respect, not only because they can take you to jail, but because they put their lives on the line keeping the great non-respecters in line. Those who have no respect for your right to own and keep your property, and given the chance will take it for their own, those who would take your life for whatever you might have on you, those who cheat and defraud you. Those people have respect for the law too, but not as we do. They will afford respect as it furthers their cause, they will say excuse me when they bump into you, that is if they are not getting ready to rob you. They follow the rules of the road unless they are running from the law. Praise God that they are not the norm.

We give our parents a higher respect than others because of their position in our lives, if we respect our children we will teach them why they should respect others. We respect the priests and preachers because of their position in society, as we do school teachers, and politicians. Politicians, ah that’s a tough one. We hold them in higher or lower respect depending upon whether or not they are of our particular persuasion.

Now to the respect that we give the one we hold dear, that respect comes from the love that we hold for them. Because of the relation we owe more respect, not less. And as we give it to them we expect it back. Asking for respect is not the same as controlling. If we are dating if you start kissing some guy on the dance floor you have dissed me, and for sure hurt my feelings, and probably made me angry enough to at the very least for me to leave the joint. If I were to do the same thing with someone else I would be just as wrong, and should be ready to break up before I ever did such a thing. Now there is a difference between actual disrespect and perceived disrespect, but not to the one who feels dissed.

Respect is very important to me, I take offense whenever I feel I am being dressed, what action I take depend on upon not only the degree of disrespect, but upon the situation. I am not going to fight a fight I cannot win unless I have to. That fight might be with the asshole that shove me out of his way, or pushed his way between me and my girlfriend, in the latter case I would be much more likely to throw a hand. Or that fight might be with my girlfriend, if winning the fight means losing the girlfriend, then I will swallow my pride, let it go, and try to explain it later.

Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 09:19  Comments (3)  

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