Many people say that respect is earned rather than being an inherent right. We have all faced people who feel that they should be respected, but are rather feared or tolerated because of their power position. These people may be obeyed and deferred to because of their status or financial standing. Respect is a different matter altogether.
Even the most miserable people can be given respect because of how they behave and what they represent. It is often a two-way dialogue. By being respectful to others, people are usually happy to return. Respect usually involves good manners but is more than that. It is also about gratitude and acceptance.
- Lead by example. Authority can force people to do what they are ordered or paid to do. But this can be annoying if the person in authority says one thing and does something completely different. Telling the staff that there is no pay award while the management has fancy new cars and holidays can cause unrest and anger in the staff who will feel disrespected. Seeming to treat everyone with the same values and fairness builds a better sense of team commitment. Respect is earned when people have a code of ethics that they live by and which is a part of their core values.
- Humility. Being humble and respectful in a positive way commands respect. This mindset has a definite sense of self, an inner tranquillity that beams of confidence and inner peace. There is no sense in racing with others – no ego or bad humor, or modesty. A person with this vision on life begs for nothing in return, is self-contained, and happy with where they are in life. Other people respect someone genuine to themselves, composed and at peace.
- Experience and expertise. These people have secured their position and worked hard to earn their success. People who have worked their way up from nothing may have started on the shop floor and risen through the levels of the company, engaged in training, maybe even started several times, and have had plenty of knocks and hindrances along the way – they have collected the experience and expertise along the way. They deserve respect for their effort and commitment. When they give advice or assistance, they can be valued and respected as they have been obtained through life experience.
- Particular layers in society are seen to justify respect. Often older adults are felt to be empowered to respect. They are often fragile and may be helpless. They have often lived through many challenges, maybe experienced hardship and grief, and so respect is given to them partly out of reverence because of what they have endured. Similarly, some job-holders are valued because of the courage that is needed to undertake their jobs. Armed forces, fire crew, police, medical services, and school teachers are examples of some jobs that are held in high regard by society.
- They have nothing to gain from a position of power. Some people drive respect entirely because of their attitude and behaviour. They carry a quiet authority, and people are happy to do what they recommend. This person may be a single, self-effacing person who is pleased to keep their advice. They may be tried out by others because they often have wise words and teachings that inspire others to lead better lives.
- Their inner sense of peace and calm, their aura, or appeal conveys to people that these individuals are healthy and comfortable with themselves. They have defeated their demons and are at one with themselves. These people lead by example and are often self-contained. They make lovely teachers, gurus, leaders, guides but are generally not motivated by money or decisions. They are usually happy for individuals to do their best and be satisfied with who they are.