Dave Willis says that we should, "Show respect even to people who don't deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of ours." Yes, it's hard to respect someone that we have issues with. But, "who we are" must be greater than the problems and issues that we face with others. Being disrespectful in a heated situation is similar to fire, it grows hotter when feed. Let's look at some ways to build our respect.
3 Areas of Respect
1. Internal Problems – I had a car that I spent hours washing to make shine. I had the interior and the exterior spotless. But under the hood was an internal spot that I didn't want to address. The transmission was slipping. Since it was still moving fine, I continued to drive it on a prayer, hoping it wouldn't let me down. But, as we all know, all unaddressed problems tend to show up when not needed. And it did. Our lives can be the same way, if we fail to address our internal problems of respect, we can find ourselves in some really messed up situations.
One way you can spot internal slippage is when you see your respect for others drop. If you are saying and doing things to others that you wouldn't want to be done to you, there are some key respect issues that need to be addressed. Take some time to analyze what you do, diagnose why you do that, and optimize your actions by finding ways to improve your behavior. Work on improving your internal respect for others with clean positive motives.
2. Short List – I recently was being pushed to a point of anger. I was losing respect for the person I was talking to. I felt that I needed to express what I was feeling inside and it was not pretty. But as I took a moment to breathe I was able to see that I was connecting old hurts to the issue. I was not being fair to the other person. The author of "Anger: A Practical Guide to Anger Management", Hal Goldblatt says it this way, "It is not whether we have anger—everyone has anger. Rather, it is what we do with it that makes the difference between an angry person and a calm one." Anger can blind us to many things. We should be careful not to dumped our past on others. We must continue to work on the current issues and keep our past experiences as points of reference.
When you are dealing with hurtful things, it is good to have a short list of past hurts for yourself and others. The past viewed negatively can easily bring a need to be disrespectful. Work to allow the initial feelings of past hurts and resentments to be erased so you can be able to effectively handle what's current.
3. Add Chemicals – In the kitchen, I have noticed that some old messes on the stove required more than elbow grease to remove. They need an additional cleaning agent to help break down the hard stuck on messes. Fixing our disrespect is not a one time wipe and it's gone. Becoming respectful requires changing the way we think. Disrespectable people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. If we see ourselves showing signs of disrespect we must work to replace our negative thoughts with more rational ones. This is applying the chemical of positiveness.
In your life, like mine, there are some hard messes that have been around for a while and are stuck pretty hard. The chemical of positiveness is probably far from thought when in the heat of the moment, but if allowed to penetrate it can break a lot of tough issues. True respect is not based on what others say or do; it is based on what you value. Allow your values to affirm what you think, say and do. Remind yourself that getting angry is not fixing the problem, it's actually creating more work for you to clean up in the long run.
Summary - Proper thinking before responding defeats disrespect. You can justify disrespect just like most of us, but to achieve a higher level of success requires you to remember that the world is "not out to get you" and you can only increase the respect you receive by change you. Life is full of messes that are loaded with people you might not respect. However, when self-healing starts, self-respect is boosted and in-turn respect for others is valued.
Increase your respect by searching internally, keeping a short list of past messes, and adding the chemical of positiveness. Allow the present to be a gift that you cherish. Each day is an opportunity be a better person with everyone.