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Is fearing in any way the same as respect?

Updated on August 31, 2012

Fear and respect are two different emotions having many connotations. Fear has many meanings and expressions. It may arise from possible danger or pain or any unknown adverse outcome of a situation or event. Fear is associated with an urge to escape all this. Thus it is one of the primary emotions in living beings.

Fear is quite useful when it helps us to avoid dangers. It brings on response of flight or fight in order to ward off physical dangers to us.

We start developing the emotion from our childhood. A toddler doesn’t fear any thing or situation or person but as he grows up, he starts fearing. We all learn what to fear from all those who are associated with us in any way in our growing up. Our physical, mental and psychological environment plays a significant role in our conditioning as to what to fear or not to fear.

Respect is not a primary emotion but is the expression of happiness and hope. Since our childhood, we are also conditioned about whom to respect and whom not to respect. Our environment in which we grow up is also responsible for this.

Different persons, things and situations evoke different responses of fear and respect in us. We have fear and respect for our parents, teachers and elders, which they deserve due the reasons known to all.

A powerful political or public figure may evoke a fear in many but if the powerful person possesses moral values, we will also have respect for him. Whereas if he lacks moral values and is corrupt, we will not respect him. But we may detest him in our heart if we fear him.

A good and courteous boss will be respected by the subordinates. But a boss who is incompetent and discourteous will not get true respect from the subordinates. They may show respect due to his position or fear of being harmed by him. But they will dislike him in their heart.

An unknown person who behaves nicely in any manner with us will have our respect. A motorist, who helps a victim of a road accident in getting him admitted to the hospital and thus saving his life, will always command the respect and gratitude of the accident victim and his relatives. Such acts command the highest respect when nothing is expected in return.

Since our childhood, a fear of God is induced in us whom we always fear. This is unnecessary since God loves all even the worst of criminals. He is always there to guide us to a better life if we earnestly beseech Him.

We will find many situations where there is some merger of fear and respect but in fact they are two different expressions.

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    • honeybee2u profile image

      honeybee2u 4 years ago from PNG

      Dr Pran, thank you for explaining the difference between fear and respect in this beautifully written hub.

    • snoblet profile image

      Dave Rogers 4 years ago from New York

      I just find that the word fear is easily manipulated to describe certain situations or beings. And at the same time the word fear, depending on how it is used it can be depicted as respect or awe in some dictionaries and because the definition changes depending on who we speak about I find that people manipulate this word very often.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image
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      Dr Pran Rangan 4 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      I agree with you Snoblet. Fear is a primary emotion. It may have various expressions. Happiness and hope are also primary emotions and respect is one of their expressions. Although fear is separate from respect but they can merge with or substitute each other in our expressions of feelings in the interactions. I have given some examples above where they merge with or complement each other.

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