Respect is an Earned Gift, Not Something You Demand


Respect is an Earned Gift, Not Something You Demand 

Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn’t necessarily imply any positive feeling,

and is compatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect.



Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person of other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of respect, disrespect, where as actions that honor somebody or something indicate respect.


In the words of a man….

“Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser I think I am beginning to understand it a little better, especially in light of events over the last couple of years. It’s not the attribute my Dad taught me about.

I’ve heard the word respect thrown around since I was a kid. I was taught to “respect” my elders no matter how immoral they were just because they were older than me. In the late 70’s the phrase “don’t dis me, man” came into vogue. Over and over throughout the years I have heard about respect, I’ve had it demanded of me, and I’ve had it withheld for various reasons. “Respect” had become something elusive to me. Something I just quite couldn’t put my finger on. Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser I think I am beginning to understand respect a little better, especially in light of events over the last couple of years. It’s not the attribute my Dad taught me about. Nor is it a commodity that can be demanded from someone. It’s so much more and goes far beyond a perceived slight or offense, accolades or awards, empty words or phrases.

Respect is something that is an earned gift.  

Now let me explain. Overall, respect is something that an individual must work hard at earning from others. He or she does that buy living an honest and honorable life. That means he doesn’t cheat, lie or steal. He or she means what they say and are true to their word. That person is dependable, solid, and does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Respect comes in when someone he or she interacts with sees these wonderful attributes and honors him with the gift of their respect. See it’s a two way street. One person gives his best and in return he receives the gift of others best. Plain and simple. We all have the ability to both earn and give it.

Now let’s take a look at how our society sees respect. Society tells us that if you have a lot of money, appear on TV or in magazines a lot, a politician, a leader of some sort or a celebrity you command respect. Sorry, I just don’t see it that way. Neither does our subconscious mind. It becomes a binary message that causes turmoil in our brain. We are told to respect these people, yet when we interact with them or hear stories of the way they treat people with disdain our subconscious can’t combine the two opposites. It just can’t put disrespectful behavior together with respect and make us accept it. So we experience an uneasiness deep within us that we often can’t explain.

We choose to earn it rather than demand it.

In comes down to this. To have the respect of others we must first be respectful of them. That means we show up on time when we make a commitment. We do what we promise. We are nice and easy to get a long with. We do the right things. Once we do that then this ‘gift’ is returned to us naturally. Others then honor us with the gift of respect which is then given freely fro the heart.

We cannot coerce it, we cannot demand it, we cannot legislate it because it just doesn’t work that way. We can try but we will always fail.Think about the people that you really respect. Do they demand it from you or is your respect earned by the way they treat you. Now turn that around.

Are you earning the gift of respect from your fellow humans?

 It’s something to think about. I know I do.

Promise yourself that starting today you will earn it not demand it. While you’re at it also be more careful with giving. Don’t be so free with it. Make those who receive that precious gift earn it. The world will be a better place because of it. ”   by MichaelIrvin .


Michael Irvin is a Creative Project Manager residing in Overland Park, KS a suburb of Kansas City, MO. Michael draws on years of experience in the advertising and marketing field. He’s an superb graphic designer and illustrator. He can be reached by email at: [email protected] .

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