The Must in Respect
Are we entitled to respect?
This article is inspired by a Facebook discussion regarding respect and the fact that we are entitled to it.
A quick Google search tells us that entitled means you have a legal right to something. Do we have such right to respect?
Claiming that I am entitled to respect, implies that everyone must show me respect at all times. Of course, this is something desirable and highly prefered by many. BUT how is it logical and practical, even fair to ourselves and others, to make such a demand?
+It implies that you have to respect me whether you like it or not. You have no choice.
+It implies that absolutely everyone who comes in contact with me must respect me. But it was made very obvious, in my 27 years of living, that some people paid me great respect while some couldn’t care less. So really, my demand can’t be brought to life.
+It implies that if I am not respected, I lack something in my life (as you know, I am entitled to it, but I do not get it). Well, being respected is not very desirable, but hell, for sure it doesn’t make my life less good.
In turn, I have no choice and have to respect all the people I meet and bear on my shoulders the fact that their life might become miserable if I don’t. Well, let me tell you something I know for sure: I do have a choice and the fact that my lack of respect makes your life miserable, it’s not my responsibility- it is on you how you relate to the world.
Rate how nice I might seem: 2
Some my gasp and say “Lauraaaa, how about the Declaration of Human Rights? It says that everyone deserves respect” or point out to me that I have no soul.
Well, the Declaration of Human Rights is something that people put together to have a set of boundaries and express what is highly desirable from fellow humans. But history shows us again and again how not all people will be respectful to all people in any circumstance.
We owe to ourselves and to the greater good of this world, to be honest, and true to who we are and what we need.
And my soul it’s where and how it has to be, thank you. I do not want to be insensitive, but I do want to put across an essential idea: if we live with demands and if we prefer some things so much that our happiness depends on them, we will end up upset, angry, disappointed and frustrated.
Especially when it comes to respecting, the fact is that we all want to be respected, to be approved and be liked. I do, too. Of course, I prefer to be loved than to be hated.
BUT if I allow myself to tie my life and my happiness, prosperity and self-esteem to YOUR respect, I will find myself in trouble pretty soon. Your respect might never come. Your respect might come and go. Your respect might be late. And I am powerless because I can’t make you respect me even if I am the most well mannered and diplomatic person here can be. You chose to respect me or not.
I prefer to be loved than to be hated. I don't HAVE TO be loved, but I PREFER to be loved.
On the other hand, I can choose to prefer, to hope for being surrounded by people who like me, who respect me and with whom I have a lot to share. But to also accept that life is not always easy and some people, because reasons are sometimes known only by themselves, choose not to be my friends, work with me or give a damn about me. But they will not define who I am nor the quality of my life- because their actions are theirs while my life is mine.
The truth (?)
What if we seek to understand, respect and accept ourselves as we are before we think we are entitled to other people’s respect and approval?
No one owes us anything, and no one must do anything for us. And I dare to include even ones' family.
Likewise, you do not owe anything to anyone.
BUT (yes, another one) we owe to ourselves and to the greater good of this world, to be honest, and true to who we are and what we need.
Imagine a world in which everyone takes responsibility for their emotions and is accepting of other’s feelings, be them good or less than desirable. And what if we stop labelling our whole day or week or life accordingly to one unfortunate event? What if we stop keeping tabs and a long list with who owes us what and to whom we are in debt? What would it happen if we take responsibility for our decisions to be them good or bed and stop saying that one person or another “made” you do this and that? And above all, what if we seek to understand, respect and accept ourselves as we are before we think we are entitled to other people’s respect and approval?
Just a thought...