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The Constructive Force of Respect

Updated on June 29, 2014

Why Respect?

Respect is essential to community life. Historically, relations between individuals were fully codified. Today, it goes over well. Respect each other, respect each other, to be respected, what is involved, finally, in compliance?

The word respect is derived from the Latin ârespicereâ which means "look back." This downtime is used to estimate the value and significance of what we see, in other words to recognize and identify what is important to us. Note that, as we are imbued with the social and cultural context of our heritage, it is rare to find two people who have the same respect, which causes misunderstanding, contempt, aggressiveness, and all types of difficulties in relationships.

What is respect?

It has two facets: one relates to the behavior, the other to the feeling.

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

Respect: Behavior

This is to comply with the rules imposed by the collective life and society. We have to respect the time, silence, others, laws, etc. For example, the law imposes a speed limit on highways. We don’t pretend we don’t know how to drive in order to ignore the law.

Or we’ll respect it, calmly, because we recognize the value of the measure, by passivity, submission, for fear of being punished, or gnawing the brake bitter with anger because our little ego does not want be forced.

Or sometimes we comply with the rules of politeness mechanically. And, if the situation demands that we involve ourselves more, we do so grudgingly, because it requires us to put forth effort. It is important then to realize that this is formalism and that, in reality, we are in no way respectful of each other. Submission, fear, and rage, force us into compliance

The way we live with these constraints says a lot about we respond to the small ego, often reluctant to discipline and self-discipline, even if we try to convince it.

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Respect: Feelings

It involves a deeper, more intimate side of our personalities. Applied to a person, it may take various forms, such as esteem and even admiration: we are impressed by something out of the ordinary, which is the limit, even going beyond what we feel can achieve. It may be, for example, a behavior or trait, which echoes some of our values. Thus, in the case of a particularly daring heist, we can respect the boldness, courage and inventiveness of its author, without adhering to the extent the fact itself.

Thus the sense of respect plays on our core values.

Losing the Ego

Constructive Respect

The philosopher Immanuel Kant made respect the absolute moral value, a duty. It is a conscious free approach to discover the extent of increasing the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of life, with all the ensuing consequences.

We let our progressively egocentric, automatic and reactive behaviors cut us off from reality. Respect is to know, recognize, and understand yourself and the other. To awaken respect is to tame the little ego and expand its boundaries.

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Mutual Respect: The Ferment of Social Peace

It’s not easy at all to respect every human being as a "living entity", as taught in Buddhism. It takes courage when we are faced with someone who is unfriendly to us, who does not have the same views, values or hurts us, because the little ego feels entitled to express hostility or contempt. It is then we need to take on ourselves and keep the spirit of dialogue, not humiliate or hurt, while continuing to meet our own values. If we do, we are also in compliance with ourselves.

Self-Respect: The Means to Develop the Potential

Deepening the concept of respect, we become more lucid, we appreciate more what we live. We also learn to identify our basic needs and our aspirations. Thus, in a society that values performance, we tend to always want to do more, too. As we respect ourselves, challenging our limits will no longer be at the expense of our lives. As to enforcement, it first starts with respecting ourselves, knowing our limits, and recognizing the value of the other. It is this attitude that will open the way to respect others.

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Respect and Compassion: The Dynamic Duo

Respect is open to a much broader understanding. But as we have seen, alone, it can lead to cold formalism. Once our values are posed, sometimes we may fall in the judgment of our shortcomings, our weaknesses, if we do not feel able to apply them in our lives. It is then that compassion brings a kind look, encouraging attention to our progress in our development. Similarly, interest in the qualities of the other, not focusing on the flaws is a component of our human revolution. This is the starting point of a dynamic process that evolves and deepens.

Do You Believe We Should Display Respect At All Times? - Why or Why Not?

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    • jamesdesalvo lm profile imageAUTHOR

      jamesdesalvo lm 

      5 years ago

      @Lady Lorelei: Thank you. I agree that we are ALL connected on this Earth. Respect should be the glue that holds us together.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Respect for one another and for the other creatures who live on this planet with us is vital. We are all connected.

    • jamesdesalvo lm profile imageAUTHOR

      jamesdesalvo lm 

      5 years ago

      @mbasa79: Thanks for sharing your views. I truly appreciate it.

    • mbasa79 profile image


      5 years ago

      Respect opens a lot of blessings. Iwas brought up within a culture that values respect and I must say that yes..we need to display respect at all times. Even when we disagree with others we must do so respectfully.


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