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." It's hard to have respect for someone that we have issues with. But who we are must be greater than the problems and issues that we face in others. Being disrespectful in a heated situation is like feeding a cancer, the more we give it what it likes the more it grows and over take us. Learning how to respect the unrespectable is a challenge but a must for a life of success.
1. Internal – I had a car that I would spend an hour or so washing and making shine. The interior and the exterior were spotless! But under the hood there were some internal issues that were slipping. I continued to drive the car on a prayer, hoping it wouldn't break down. But, as unaddressed internal problems go, it let me down when I needed it most. Our lives can be the same way if we fail to address our internal problems of respect.
One way you can spot internal slippage is when you see your respect for others drop. There are reason on the inside why you are responding the way you do. Take some time to analyze (What did you do?), diagnose (Why did you do it?), optimize (What can you do to change it to be better?). 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." The person I was angry with was being dumped on by my pass when I needed to be addressing the current issue only using my past experiences as a point of reference to help me handle what I was facing.
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 onetime wipe over and it's gone fix. 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 life there are some hard messes that have been around for a while and are stuck real hard. The chemical of positveness 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 do or say; it is based on what you value. Allow your values to affirm what you think, say and do in your hard mess spots. Remind yourself that getting angry is not fixing the problem and 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.