So is respect earned and not given? Well, that suggests that you have to work for respect, doesn’t it? This implies that you are not worthy of respect therefore, no one should respect anyone unless they earn it. Isn’t this like the dumbest thing you ever heard?
Respect Starts With The Self
Respect starts with respecting yourself, no? A person who practices virtue respects themselves because they value themselves. This is a very important point. When you value yourself, then you can value others. If you do not value yourself, then how in the world will you value other people? So value and respect go hand in hand.
We Are Unworthy
Humility is a virtue. You may suggest or even subconsciously think that you are unworthy of something. Either by your upbringing or by the way someone treats you that is close to you. After you realize this, you may feel robbed or cheated. Yet, don’t let it make you feel that way. Be glad that you are learning and growing. Never victimize yourself. Be your own hero because you are the one in control of your feelings, emotions, and life.
When a person values themselves, when a person respects themselves, they act in such a way that demands respect. Yes, it’s easier to respect a person who respects themselves. The hard part is to respect a person who does not respect themselves. Yet, you could be one of those chosen few that has the gift to respect those who do not respect themselves. What is even harder is to respect someone that does not respect you. This is a job for a real Stoic individual.
People Who Do Not Show Respect
So, how do you deal with a person who is not respectful? Should you give up your virtue for them? Of course not. However, the weak and feeble-minded view this as their only option. They do not have the strength to open their mind and see that this will easily rob them of their virtue. When someone yells angrily at you, do you yell back angrily? If so, then how are you any different from them? No, you would be just like them if you did that.
“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”
― Marcus Aurelius
Breaking Your Word
Years ago, there was a saying that a man’s word is his bond. How could this be? Today, words flow from human mouths like the water flows at Niagara Falls. Many gullible people jump on every whim and every new talking point and do not even really think about the meaning. Everyone lies, they say, so what’s the difference if I do or not? To a person of virtue, it does matter, even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. Shakespeare has it right when he said, “To thine own self, be true!”.
People who like to control others will say things like. Respect is earned, not given. They cannot grasp the meaning that they themselves should be respectful because respect is a virtue that comes from within. People who use these terms want their asses buttered with idolization. They want to be looked up to. Alpha Stoics mold themselves to be respectful of all people because it is something they have for themselves. It does not matter if you’re respected, recognized, idolized or whatever terms you have to put a person on a pedestal. Respect yourself, respect others just because that’s who you are, and it is the Right thing to do!
Pity Those Who Do Not Show Respect
If you see a person who does not show respect, then the only thing you can do is pity the poor fool. They certainly are the empty shells of a human being in want. You control yourself. Let the fool be a fool because even if you try to reason with them, the fool will continue to be a fool. Let them keep their ignorance and let them wallow in their wants and desires.
Being Respectful Towards Others
One day, I was walking out of my office and a beautiful woman was walking in. My custom is always to hold the door and let the other person in, no matter who they are. After passing through the door, the woman looked at me and was upset that I held the door open for her. I offended her because in her mind I was demeaning her strong womanhood. Silly, I thought to myself and kept on walking to my truck. Still, I never changed. Holding the door for another person shows my virtue, my respect for myself and others.
The Nature Of Respect is Compassion
When we really get into the meaning of respect, it is compassion, isn’t it? For example, what you expect from one person should not be the same for another person. Respect youth for their limited knowledge, respect the elderly for their limited physical strength. There are all kinds of ways to practice their beautiful virtue. It really shows who you are as a person and it outwardly shows what you truly believe about yourself inside. Showing respect to all makes you a critical thinker, happy, strong, moral, and virtuous!