How To Have Respect In A World That Seems To Have Lost It

In this article, you will learn how to have respect in a world that seems to have lost it. It actually breaks my heart to even have to write an article on this topic because you would think having respect for ourselves and one another would be an innate human quality; but as many of you have probably noticed, or even experienced first hand, it seems many have forgotten about this basic concept. 

I was inspired to write this article, and share, this topic after a friend of mine suffered a high level of disrespect at her office. This blatant disrespect was not directed at her pre se but the things her coworkers were saying was very upsetting and disrespectful to a group of people, in general, of which she feels she is part of. She felt lost and defeated and didn’t know what to do about it. When she confided in me I was upset by the fact that adult human beings, who are in a professional setting don’t seem to know how to properly act in the workplace. 

And other friend, who constantly receives messages from people who disagree with the way she lives her life and literally has people telling her to smarten up; saying how dare she does the things she’s doing. She’s not doing anything illegal, she’s just choosing to live her life in a way that may look different from others. 

I am sure many of you have experienced something similar to these examples in your life too. That is why today, I want us to have a really great conversation around the topic of respect.  

It seems if you choose to put yourself out there on social media, in the public eye, or even voice your opinions in your own social circle someone will disagree and very disrespectfully tell you that you are wrong. People are taking it so far as to physically abuse others and yell and scream in peoples faces when someone doesn’t do what they think they should be doing. 

Whatever happened to freedom of speech or individuality? Whatever happened to having a debate? When people come to the table with all the “facts,” a concept that many have forgotten these days, and discuss the various aspects of both sides. Neither side ever needs to agree but at least they came together with the reasons and facts, not just opinions, on why they believe what they believe and they can be at least open to respecting each others beliefs. 

As a health and wellness coach, I work really hard to help my clients find love, compassion and respect for themselves. The reason I start with this concept is because when you have love, compassion and respect for yourself first, you can then have love, compassion and respect for others. 

As an observer, I see a world full of people who have absolutely no love, compassion or respect for themselves and it shows in many ways. For example, we have an epidemic of unhealthy people in our world today. Canadian statistics show that approximately 34% of adults in Canada (10.6 million individuals) are overweight, which is defined as a body mass index, also known as BMI, between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2.. Obesity, defined as a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, affected 26.4% or 8.3 million Canadian adults in 2016 and severe obesity (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2), which seemed to be the fastest growing obesity subgroup, increased disproportionately over this same period. Since 1985, severe obesity increased 455% and affected an estimated 1.9 million Canadian adults. These statistic were from 2016 so I’m sure it’s even higher now. 

Look at the epidemic of chronic diseases that plague our world, which are mostly the result of people not properly taking care of their physical, emotional and spiritual health. 

Why do I bring these statistics up? Well, when people have true love, compassion and respect for themselves, they live and act in ways that reflects it. One of the things I learned years ago from numerous mentors is that our physical appearance reflects our inner state. Now, I am by no means saying any of this stuff to shame anyone who struggles with their weight. All of us have struggles in some way and I absolutely respect that.

It’s not even just weight and health issues, many people are suffering with alcohol, drug, gambling and other addictions as way to cope with or ignore negative, uncomfortable feelings that they don’t want to deal with. 

People who abuse other human beings, animals and the planet are not happy people. I’m sorry, but someone who can harm an innocent child or animal does not love themselves. If they did they would’t even think of acting in that way towards another living thing. 

The reason why I bring this up is to prove a point, that there is an epidemic of people around the world who do not have love, compassion or respect for themselves so it’s no wonder  people can’t have love, respect or have compassion for others. 

How To Have Respect For Yourself. 

First, let’s defined respect. Respect is a concept that refers to the ability to value and honour another person. Even if we do not approve of what some people say or do, they still deserve respect. Respect may not come naturally; it’s usually something you learn from your parents, or other adults in your life, who’ve raised you or influenced you in some way. 

When you choose to act in a respectful way you are showing that you are accepting of other peoples’ customs, cultures, thoughts, ideas and beliefs that may be different from your own, and when you behave in a way that does not cause offence. You accept the other person, not try to change them, learn totolerate, not discriminate, and avoid actions that may offend others. You don’t have to agree with their beliefs or actions but you at least can respect them for who they are as a human being. 

Some examples of acting in a considerate, respectful way include:

  • greeting or speaking to others in a kind and respectful way;
  • giving up your seat in public places;
  • treating others as you would like them to treat you. 

The last one is one that I was taught at a very young age and I feel is one that many people sadly still have yet to learn. 

There are many types of respect. Some examples are:

  • self-respect – valuing and appreciating yourself;
  • Respect for others – accepting and considering another person;
  • Respect for social norms – respecting norms that govern society;
  • Respect for nature – appreciating the environment;
  • Respect for values – ability to honour our own principles;
  • Respect for laws and norms – ability to comply with legal norms;
  • Respect for culture – appreciating cultural differences; and
  • Respect for the family – being able to understand, respect, and coexist with each other. 

As mentioned already mentioned, self-respect is indicative of how you view yourself. When you practice self-respect, you’ll feel more positive emotions and thoughts about yourself. The same is also true the other way around. When you have positive emotions and thoughts about yourself, you will show yourself more respect. 

Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of negativity in the world these days. I’m not sure if this negativity has always been there or if it just seems more rampant today because of social media and our access to the world. That is why it is critical that each one of us takes responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and actions. When you show up with self-respect, you will have belief in yourself and be able to show up in a way that not only allows you to live the life you desire but also to serve others from a positive, heart centred place. 

Here are some ways to can enhance the love and respect you have for yourself so you can show up in the world from a confident, positive and kind space:

1) Choose self-respect: Like I spoke about in last weeks’ episode, some of the rules to live by to accomplish any goal is to decide that you want it and commit to it. The same applies here. You must choose to have self-respect, understand what it will take to do so and make a commitment to practice self-respect daily; no matter what it takes.

2) Be considerate of your feelings: Your feelings are just as important as everyone else’s. It’s important for you to recognize your feelings and acknowledge how you feel when making decisions. When you seek the approval of others before considering your own ideas, thoughts and feelings you’re disrespecting yourself saying that other people, and their ideas, thoughts and feelings, are more important than your own. Of course, we want to be considerate of others but remember to be considerate of yourself as well. 

3) Speak kindly about and to yourself: In other words, avoid self-deprecating remarks and putting yourself down. Negative comments, regardless if they are posed as jokes, are not a great way to show yourself respect. Remember, what you think, and say, about yourself is what you will believe to be true. If you take note each time you hear yourself say something disrespectful to yourself you will likely notice that there is negative feeling or situation associated with it. When you become more aware of your actions you can recognize, stop and change them to be more positive in the future. 

4) Journal your thoughts and feelings: Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a very therapeutic exercise that I recommend to my clients, and do myself. In this journal, you can write down your deepest, darkest secrets, take note of anytime you are feeling down or acting in a disrespectful way towards yourself. Over time, you can look back on what you wrote down, notice any patterns and make healthy adjustments as you see fit. 

5) Support your mental and emotional body: One of the reasons why I love yoga so much is that it gives us time to take care of ourselves; mind, body and soul. When you do things that make you feel content, comfortable and happy you are showing yourself self-respect. One caveat to this though is that you want to make sure you’re not sacrificing your happiness and desires because you’re too content staying in your comfort zone. All it means is that you don’t need to depend on others to make you happy. Do what you can to take care of your own emotional needs, challenge yourself towards happiness and deal with any demons that may be standing in your way of happiness. 

6) Believe you deserve to be treated with respect: You teach people how to treat you by showing them how you feel you deserve to be treated. When you truly believe this is what you deserve for yourself, then you will notice other people will treat you in a respectful way. Set clear boundaries with others and don’t let anyone treat you with disrespect. It’s ok to let people know how you expect to be treated in a kind and respectful way. 

7) Allow your actions to speak for themselves: This means that it’s important for you to act in ways that reflect the high level of respect you have for yourself. Take care of your body, your mind, your soul, use respectful language and show up in the world in a respectful manner. This will reflect your inner most respect for yourself and show others how you expect to be treated. 

8) Treat others with respect: One of my favourite quotes is from Mahatma Gandhi and it says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That means, if you want to be treated with respect, treat yourself and others with the same respect.

Of course having respect for yourself is super important but so is being respectful to others. Here are some ways you can build and show respect for other people:

1) Listen: When you take the time to listen to others by giving your full attention to whoever is speaking you are showing them that you care and are seeking to understand their point of view. Avoid interrupting or getting distracted when they are speaking as this shows a level of disrespect towards the speaker. 

2) Act in integrity: In other words, keep your promisesand do what you say you’re going to do. Show others you respect and value them by being reliable and following through on commitments.

3) Encourage others: Be the one who shows up in a positive, kind space and encourage others to do the same. Let the people around you know that you care about their ideas, contributions, and success and do what you can to serve and support others in their endeavours. 

4) Take time to connect with others: This one can feel difficult in a time when everyone is wearing masks and living in desperate fear and uncertainty. I know it seems hard to acknowledge others, with a smile because they can’t see behind the mask. However, as much as you can, do your best to connect with other people and be courteous in your actions. The sad part about the state of the world right now is that we seem to be losing our connection to one another. Even friends and family members, who are normally close, are now scared to hug and show affection towards one another. It’s an absolute shame. So, we must rise up and do the best we can to connect with people as much as we can under the circumstances. Perhaps call someone you love and have a conversation. Do something special for someone or just a simple random act of kindness. 

5) Give thanks and express gratitude. When you recognize and acknowledge others for what they mean to you and how they have supported you, you are showing great respect for them. 

6) Communicate clearly with others. Be sure to speak to everyone with respect and ensure that everyone involved has the information they need when you are communicating with them. It’s important that the people you speak with feel trusted and included whether it’s in your personal life or in business.

7) Speak your truth and allow others to do the same. Ensure that you surround yourself with people who are ok with you speaking your truth and be confident enough in yourself to speak your truth even in the presence of people who may not. It’s important that you nurture an environment where you, and everyone in your presence, can raise issues of concern with you and also speak their own truth without feeling judged or reprimanded for it. 

8) Have empathy for others. Empathy means that you put yourself in the other persons’ shoes. Make a conscious effort tounderstand the point of view of others without judgement, be considerate of their time, and if you’re unsure of something ask before assuming.

9) Commit to learning. Even when it comes to learning how to respect others it’s important to always grow, develop yourself and commit to lifelong learning. Share knowledge, seek feedback, and learn as much as you can about yourself and others. 

10) Be a team player. Nurture an environment, in your personal and professional life, where help is happily offered, asked for and received, priorities are clearly communicated, and workloads are respectfully shared.

Today I challenge you to have respect. Respect for yourself and others at all times. Respect is avery powerful ingredient in how people, even total strangers, treat each other. If others treat you poorly and with disrespect, choose to be the bigger person and act in in accordance with your personal values, have the utmost respect for where they may be coming from and if you need to… just simply walk away from the situation with grace. 

Acts of respect could be all is takes to change the world and make it a harmonious place for all to live. There would be no hatred, no violence, no wars and we would live together in a world of peace.

If we don’t respect others, they will not respect us, and if we don’t respect ourselves we will not be respected by others. Receiving respect from others helps us to feel safe and allows us to express our true selves with confidence. 

Respect in your relationships builds feelings of trust, safety, and well-being. 

Without being respectful and civil towards ourselves and others, we will never be able to discuss, or reflect upon, anything of importance. We will never be able to understand the reasoning of any other perspective. Respect opens us up to processing new ideas with consideration. Everyone deserves to have their opinion heard and repeated. Respect is a simple common courtesy. We need to respect each other because we are all humans because none of us is above another. 

Sometimes it can be daunting to think of how the entire world needs to change and get better at the simple concept of respect. However, you don’t need to think of doing this to change the world. The best way you can contribute to a better work is simply start with you. 

Respect yourself and the people in your social circle. Be a role model for others by showing love, respect and compassion to yourself and to others. This will, over time, cause a ripple effect of positivity and change that you likely won’t even be aware of. As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” 

I hope that this topic has inspired you some way today. 

Until next time my friends, 

Keep rockin’ your wellness. 

Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA

Health, wellness, plant-based nutrition, yoga and spiritual life coach

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