Free stock photo of hands, love, people, womanWho remembers the comedian Rodney Dangerfield?  His whole skit was centered around one line.  As he straightened his tie he’d say, “I don’t get no respect!”  And don’t we sometimes feel the same way as we’re pummeled by crowds, bureaucracy, paperwork, robo-calls, call-waiting, and seemingly useless repetitive actions that step on our collective toes?

There are two kinds of respect in the world.  The first is pseudo-respect, that kind of honor we give to anyone in authority or in leadership positions, just because they hold the office.  The less these positions are truly earned, the more obsequious we think we should be to soothe their egos and get what we want from them.  Very “quid pro quo.”

Then there is authentic respect, which is earned as a result of hard work, education, results, and most of all, service to others.  Oddly enough people who earn this high degree of respect often come with the humility to not take it too seriously.  Men and women who deserve this high level of respect:
–  Bring more ease into the lives and jobs of others;
–  Affirm others’ dignity, avoiding shaming remarks and judgments;
–  Are reliable and can be counted on to tell the truth, even if it may sting;
–  Exhibit personal and professional integrity in great things and small.

How can we gain more authentic respect?  It will automatically come our way when we live out our life purpose, when we value ourselves and so enhance the lives of those around us.  Respect is the by-product of using our personal gifts generously to support, to empathize, and to express our unique brand of compassion.

Why bother wanting respect; is it that important?  Most of us need positive examples to emulate, especially those of us who come from dysfunctional families or who have struggled with addictions or compulsions.  We need this guidance in order to put into action the theory of living a good life.  That’s what 12 step programs are all about and it’s at the heart of all compassionate religions.

Respect of others stems from self-respect, which in turn deepens respect for others. It enriches our character and the principles and values on which we build our decisions, choices, and relationships.

Respect also helps us to move beyond petty differences in community in order to reach consensus on important issues that affect us all.  Even if we disagree, we admire one another enough to plow through disagreements and shift into practical compromise.  Respect helps conflict to become useful crisis and resolution.

So if you don’t think you’re getting enough respect, look in the mirror and ask that person if he or she truly respects you for who you are.  Self-respect is like a magnet that attracts respect from others.  It’s a signal of maturity, integrity, and self-compassion…qualities that uphold the truly respected among us.

© Copyright Michael Parise 2017
Portions excerpted from Michael’s book: Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed
Since 1979 Michael has worked with individuals and groups to take full advantage interruptions and changes to balance responsibilities, simplify their lives, and find greater productivity and peace.
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