“Respect earned through fear instead of deeds, was not truly respect.”
Have you experienced respecting people in your life out of threat? Have you met people who coerce others to make them follow and respect? Have you known people who see themselves as powerful human beings just because they gained respect from others who feared them? If not many times, we got to experience all of these once in our lives. At times, we fall into the trap of confusing these two qualities- fear and respect. In addition, we tend to regard people as embodiments of power when they make others respect based on fear. These acts hold true even at this time. But what is really the difference between fear and respect? When is respect considered true?
Fear and respect are two contrasting things. Fear hinders the potential of an individual while respect strengthens it. Think of a time when you feared someone. Did you show who you really are and what you are capable of? How about when you respected somebody and earned respect from him/her? Did you spend time thinking about what the person will say? You might have done it, but knowing that that person accepts your feelings, belief systems, principles, and needs saves you from worrying too much about yourself. In fact, when respect is served, you are inspired to hone your potential at the optimal level and transcend boundaries.
Furthermore, fear goes temporarily while respect lasts a lifetime. How many times have you felt incomparable joy when the person whom you fear the most is away? That person may come from varied figures- an inconsiderate boss, an obnoxious manager or a condescending leader. Yes, total authority is fine. So is perfectionism. What is not fine is belittlement and intimidation by a person. Little does a person know that being abrasive not only robs one’s sanity but also breeds fear. It happens when we try to respect people merely because we fear them. In reality, however, we respect them a little or we do not respect them at all. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow, so to speak. On the other hand, respect can go a long way if it stems from deeds, not fear. If you were asked about the person who left a significant mark in your life, you would probably choose someone whom you look up to- someone who respects you because s/he first respects herself/himself and who gives you value and importance. That is true respect.
Although others have feared someone and have thought of not giving respect to undeserving of it, but the stronger we hold on to this belief, the more we destroy our values. Refusing to respect someone defines more of ourselves than it does to the one we fear or dislike. As Dave Willis put it, “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” Thus, whatever engenders, respect. Whether it is through deeds or fear, respect. And if we are not willing to give respect to others, let us try giving it to ourselves first. Let us show one of the most pivotal virtues. Respect.