I think of civility and honor when I think of what the word ‘respect’ means, and I am afraid respect is sorely missing from our world today. The noisy and intense dialogue has been less than respectful, from politics to the media to our communities. People are getting louder, ruder, meaner – and the worse the message, the more traction. This scenario should not be the case nor the example to set. This unrestrained and limitless nature of current dialogue, communications, and messages means society has become harsher and rougher.
So, why is society choosing this viciousness over civility? Why is society embracing antagonistic individuals in politics, media, and the community? Disrespect and its accompanying lack of civility produce more of the same, which is not something we want to pass down to the younger generations. Students are expected to respect their teachers and classmates in the classroom, and toxic bullying is present when respect isn’t given. And for adults, name-calling and physical/verbal/emotional/mental abuse are thrown around rather than real solutions being shaped.
Being responsible for your actions is being respectful. Thinking before doing is also part of being respectful. Sometimes, even biting your tongue, turning the other cheek, or forgiving others is part of being respectful. Being disrespectful should not be acceptable behavior, and speaking your mind should not be at the expense of others. Respect in our daily lives, politics, and families/schools/workplaces are not optional but mandatory. If we demand respect for ourselves, it should not be expected unless you have a commitment to courteousness yourself.
I hear from many super frustrated men because they’re trying to do the best job they can, but they don’t feel like they’re being taken seriously. Many men (significantly younger men) are being viewed as self-absorbed, tech-addicted narcissists. But I am here to tell you not to sweat what the masses think about the masses! It’s an individual case-by-case basis because you have absolute 100% control over how the world views you. Focus on yourself!
Now we’ve all had somebody who we just respected because they were amazing, whether a business person, athlete, YouTuber, whomever. We respected them because of something they’ve done, an achievement they’ve had, or just because they’re awesome. And for me, I view this as ADMIRATION. I admire somebody because they’ve achieved X or done this or are amazingly awesome. But the kind of respect I’m looking for is for others to take me seriously and treat me well.
I’m here today to tell you that nobody – and when I say nobody, I mean no-one not even yo’ mama — OWES you respect. It is something that you EARN through your actions, and once you’ve earned somebody’s respect, that’s when the hard work starts. You’ve got to keep that respect. You’ve got to live every single day with integrity with purpose. And if you fall off, you might have to do some extra work to earn that respect back. It’s hard, but it can be done.
But, has anyone ever done something to you or said something to you that automatically made you feel disrespected? Was it undeniable that the dude didn’t respect you? There is nothing worse than feeling disrespected. But here’s the deal, guys — it can be prevented most of the time.
Now some of the time, assholes are not going to like you or respect you just because of their ignorance, right? But for the rest of everybody out there that isn’t an idiot or a bigot or racist or a homophobe or whatever, I’ve done specific things to get the respect I deserve. Actually, the term is not ‘deserve’ – instead, the respect I EARNED. Here are some steps that you can take to earn that respect.
The first is to look respectable, including your grooming, hygiene, style, and the way you present yourself to the outside world. Your image as your personal brand and what it is saying to the world around you is something that people will look at and consider.
Another tip is to act respectable – say please & thank you and have respectable body language that includes looking people in the eye when you talk to them and shaking their hand like you mean it. Speaking clearly and concisely to get your point across in a logical manner is also vital. It’s a skill that not everyone can master—and if you can’t do it now, you can practice and work on it like any other skill.
The next point to garner respect is to be a man of your word. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. If you give somebody your word that you’re going to do something, do it! If not, why should they respect you? And to finish this list out, try your best EVERY DAY with EVERYTHING you do. Are you going to be excellent at everything? No, of course not! I suck so bad at so many things, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try. I give it a good college try daily, including relationships, school, work, career, hobbies, and passions — EVERYTHING. Put in 100%, or else why bother?
True, there are assholes out there that will never respect you regardless of what you do, how you act, or what you say. Should you worry about them? No! Get rid of them — you don’t need them in your life. And despite all our differences as individuals, mutual respect and acceptance should be evident in every situation, whether in the workplace, schools, or with friends & family. Choosing words and actions thoughtfully are simple steps of making respect happen.