Respect is a constructive attitude displayed towards someone held with high esteem because of admirable and valuable qualities. Respect ends up being a process of honouring someone openly.
Some people earn the respect because of their personality and the role they play in the social arena. In several cultures, individuals are considered to be worthy of respect until they prove otherwise. Situations that show respect include simple phrases like ‘thank you’ ‘I am sorry’ ‘I beg your pardon’ ‘come again’. In some cultures, simple physical signs like bowing, a smile, joining the two hands are interpreted to mean respect.
The way one speaks, looks and dresses display the amount of respect being rendered. One clear inclination is that no one can respect others if he/she does not have personal respect because this is the glue that binds relationships. No one can claim that he/she has respected enough. There is always room to learn new ways of being respectful and how to behave in case somebody is disrespectful.
Receiving respect from others is important because it makes us feel safe to express. Similarly being respected teaches us how to be respectful toward others and accepting them even when they are totally different from us. Not agreeing with a person does not necessarily mean disrespect. All the same, respect builds trust, makes one safe and contented. To be respectful is not natural, it is something we all have to continuously learn.
It may happen that we find ourselves not being respected by people, whom we less expect to behave that way including family members and those call friends. While it is not always possible to induce somebody to respect you, there are some things we are able to attempt. We need to go out of our way to show these people what respect looks like by being respectful ourselves. We may have to invite such a person to a group respectful people so that they sense the difference. The ones who are disrespectful need to be calmly told that what they are doing is not acceptable. It is likewise important to understand why they behave the way they do. Yet, when disrespect persists, it is fine to suspend friendships with such people because personal integrity risks being compromised. Remember that as a person you have your value and you matter. What you think and feel is as important as what somebody else thinks and feels about you. Thus signing off a relationship that because it has not been respectful is a clear way of respecting yourself. In life, the time comes when you have to make a decision for or against some behaviour.
Respect can be natured by listening attentively to the other people; being sympathetic by doing what it takes to understand the other person by stepping in their shoes; by using assertive communication whereby we defend our principles while respecting the rights of others in an educated and non-aggressive manner. By being aware that our approaches, ideas and opinions may differ from other people when necessarily none is wrong, by keeping in mind that no single person has the absolute truth, by apologizing openly when we realize we have made a mistake. By keeping other people’s secrets. By respecting laws and regulations that we have subscribed to. By taking care of the common spaces. By showing interest in others while respecting their privacy. By making sure that we avoid excluding others and instead help them when it is in our power to do so. In life always be grateful to minimize regrets.
The golden rule remains; “treat others the way you want to be treated” Luke 6:31. It is a pretty cliché phrase, but it is true. If you want to be respected, start by respecting others. People tend to be reciprocal.
Respect as a way of modelled behaviour is important at any age but most especially during tender age as it serves as a basis for character formation. Because of too much delegation of parental duties in Uganda’s urban setups; most youth and young adults are lagging behind when it comes to respecting. Most people no longer know how to conduct themselves privately and in public. Most youth don’t know simple things like cleaning plates, talking a shower properly, ‘saving household essentials like electricity, water, food; leave alone time and money. Some young people can’t wash their clothes or make their bed after waking up.
Respect is a level of visible steady maturity where most especially children are taught to be responsible young citizens. As people grow up, it is wise to engage in respectful activities such as cooking for the family, cleaning and sweeping the house, caring for infant peers and crop work. Children learn to view their participation in these activities as a representation of respect. Through this manner of participation in activities of respect; people not only learn about their culture but also go a step ahead to put it in practice. A person who respects others fits in all good situations and ends up being successful in this life and in eternity.
Fr. Paulino Mondo