Growing up I was taught that I should automatically respect others. The respect I am referring to is not the kind of respect afforded a deity; but the respect of regard and consideration that should be shown to every man. Back in “the day” when I was still under the absolute authority of my parents, a lack of respect to another would bring upon swift and immediate punishment. The idea of “back-talking” or having a total lack of regard for another’s opinion or feelings was not tolerated at all. Growing up with such life lessons, I, of course, attempted to pass them along to my children. Taking a step back and looking as objectively as I can at my children, I think they have learned the lesson well. It isn’t too often I see them deliberately hurting or violating someone else’s rights, opinions or feelings. It does my heart good to see them being able to treat others with kindness so effortlessly, even when they are not shown the same in return.
Of course, as some might say, showing respect in all situations can be misinterpreted as weakness. Standing silent while someone attempts to spew forth venom into your very soul can be a daunting task. Having someone spew obscenities and half-truths in my direction can wear me down enough to make me want to jump right into their foul stench of a pig’s sty with them. Shamefully I admit that there has been occasions when I jumped into the stench and didn’t come out smelling like a rose. If I jump into the pig’s sty with them, don’t I get just as dirty?
Many times I’ve come across a situation where I have been lied about or lied too or been the target of another’s frustration. Often times I’ve had to stop and ask myself, “Can this person accept the truth? Does this person even want to know the truth? Is this person, at this time, able to react rationally?” Most times, when a person is down in the muck and mire, the only voice they hear is their own, and it is not the voice of reason. It doesn’t matter what I say, they have their own mindset. When all is said and done, when the words have settled into the dust, the only thing remaining to tell the story are the actions I have displayed.
So, what does all of that have to do with respect? Over the years I’ve learned that when I truly respect others by not jumping down into a muddy pit that the general population may want to pull me down into; I’m really respecting myself. At the end of the day I like to go to sleep really liking who I am.