It’s all about respect, for yourself and for others.
Throughout my unconventional childhood, I really grew to understand the value of respect, specifically showing respect for others. As I have grown a few grey hairs I have come to realise that respect is a vital way of thinking for both our personal and business lives. And it is all about respect for yourself as much as respect for others.
So what is respect? The best description I can give is that it is a deep feeling of admiration for a person as a result of their abilities, qualities and achievements, or their age and standing in the community (that said, when it comes to women, I think men should just respect them, full stop).
Respect manifests itself in many ways. The old lady who brought my sister and myself up made sure that our manners were perfect. I would always stand up for a lady or an older person on the bus. She taught me that when you are walking with a lady the man should always be closest to the road to protect the lady. You always helped old people or ladies with their bags and groceries, or anything that they needed. For all of her madness, I truly appreciate being taught how to show respect for other people through your actions.
Today I am one of those men that opens doors for women, helps them with their bags, and I always let them order first in a restaurant and I always pay. Old-fashioned habits certainly, but I have no intention of changing them. I have been verbally abused (and on one occasion almost physically abused) by women who consider my behaviour to be chauvinistic. I think that losing manners and respect for women is a tragic loss in the world, but I think that it will make a comeback. I certainly hope to drive that comeback.
I am a big believer in treating everyone the same and treating everyone with respect. We have to earn respect, but I believe that we should respect everyone we encounter until they give us reason not to. So I respect the person who brings me coffee in my local café as much as I respect the CEO of the company who happens to be my biggest client.
Respecting ourselves, however, is the most important form of respect, but unfortunately many people struggle with it. Many of us go through stages in our lives when we really don’t like who we are or what we have become.
To respect ourselves, we have to learn to admire and acknowledge the good qualities we possess. Most of the time we focus way too much on the areas where we are not that good and the things we are not that proud of. Generally what you focus on is what you get more of. Focus on the bad stuff and you will find more of it.
Why do we find it so hard to see the good within ourselves? We all have good qualities that can be admired, even the worst person imaginable. Fortunately we usually have people around us who can point out these good characteristics, but we need to learn to do it for ourselves too. Spend time focusing on the good things that you love and admire about yourself and, before you know it, you will start to find other good qualities.
Like so many parts of life, the more good we see within the more good we find around us. People who don’t have a lot of self-respect generally don’t treat themselves very well. They lose interest in their appearance, they don’t exercise or eat well, they don’t care about their surroundings and they certainly don’t treat others very well. The more respect you show others, the more respect others will show you and the better you will feel about yourself.
As we climb the ladder of success (in whichever form that may take for you) humility is a wonderful ally for respect. There is nothing nicer than a person at the top of their game who has the humility to show respect to others who are still working out their way.
‘Respect’ is a big word. It can be hard to get and easy to lose. The more you focus on others in a respectful way, the more respect you will develop for yourself. Life is nice like that.