Hmmm...Can't Get No Respect?
noticed that this topic comes up pretty often these days?
We have. Seems more and more people are
becoming concerned about whether or not they are being
what's really going on here.
As we often do,
let's start with a definition:
Respect: a feeling of deep admiration
for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities,
or achievements; the state of being admired or respected.
Based on that
definition, respect looks pretty desirable. In which case,
folks might well want to get respect.
Jihadists, for example.
They feel pretty strongly about respect. They want respect
for their religion and for their sacred text, the Koran.
In fact, it seems they can become rather murderous, when they
don't get the respect they insist on. There's that thing
called a Jihad. which apparently refers to "struggle," though
some have extended into "holy war." Now, from what we
understand, not all Islamists are that concerned about this
issue of "respect" and "jihad," but it seems that some who've
killed other folks (e.g., killed Americans) have justified it on
the basis of "lack of respect" for their religions and/or
Add to this the congressman
who decided it was good to shut down the Federal Government in
October of 2013, because of lack of respect ( Congressman, Newt
Gingrich, gave a very similar reason for shutting down the
government during the Clinton Presidency)
And then take those who are
very angry here in the US about immigrants who came here
illegally. They tell us that the problem is, these folks
don't respect our laws. So we should either put them in
jail, or kick them out, because they are, after all, illegal.
There may be other examples
of concern about not getting respect, but we'll stop with these.
So the question is:
Do folks sometimes use (perhaps even misuse) the notion of
respect to explain, justify or rationalize what they do?
And if so, why?
We're not mind readers, and
we don't (as yet) know of any research that answers these
questions. But we think they are important. We think
answering them might tell us what's really going on with all
this emphasis on respect.
Where does that
We do have a few thoughts
about respect, especially in terms of where it comes from.
Respect from others: This appears
to be the kind of respect that we discussed above. Basically,
it means something like this: "I (or we) want you to respect me
Were we to guess at this
point, we would think that maybe all this need for respect from
others indicates some insecurity on the part of the person.
And we wonder why anyone
would want to give so much power to others? Why let the
question of whether others give respect have such a negative
Have to earn respect from others:
This appears to be the "common sense," or "conventional wisdom"
concerning respect from others as in "You (singular, or plural)
have to earn my (our). respect.
BUT (and this is a big "but")
this means we have to accept other folks standards for
respect--it means we have to earn that respect the way they tell
us to earn it. That gives a lot of power to others.
Self Respect: It
occurs to us that self-respect might be more important than getting
respect from others. We think of this, because it often seems that for some, getting
respect from others is more important than having self-respect,
almost as if they need that external validation before they can
have internal self-validation.
We do know that psychologists have
looked at this topic, and there is some thought that
self-respect is more important than self-esteem, that it's
better to have a positive view toward who and what you are, than
to like yourself, because self-respect involves self acceptance,
where self-esteem is more about liking yourself.
If you'd like to read more about this.
If we are correct about the need and value of self-respect, it
suggests the more self-respect we have the less important respect from
others becomes (we might still value it, but in the end not care if it's
Respect for others:
Finally, we wonder how much
respect we give others. We wonder if those who demand
respect also give respect. In other words, is this just a
one way street for some?
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