It’s about respect

Anastasia Spytsya

Respect carries a lot of meanings. On a practical level, it seems to include taking someone’s feelings, needs, thoughts, ideas, wishes and preferences into consideration. We might also say it means taking all of these seriously and giving them worth and value. In fact, giving someone respect seems similar to valuing him or her and his or her thoughts, feelings, etc. It also seems to include acknowledging, listening to, being truthful with and accepting that person’s individuality and idiosyncrasies.

Respect is something everyone wants, not many have, and few want to give. Respect can be shown through behavior, and it can also be felt. We can act in ways that are considered respectful, yet we can also feel respect for someone and feel respected by someone. Because it is possible to act in ways that do not reflect how we really feel, the feeling of respect is more important than the behavior without the feeling. When the feeling is there, the behavior will naturally follow.

Earned respect builds a stronger relationship between people and is more stable than demanded respect. When another person earns your respect, you work harder to have that same respect returned to you. The main thing is to treat other people how you would like to be treated. Most people, when treated decently, will treat others the same way.

Respect is hard to give when someone does not give it back to you. Stereotyping has a lot to do with it. Whatever group a person belongs to, there are always a few “bad guys” who give a negative reputation to the whole group, community, school, etc. Stereotyping is wrong – you shouldn’t judge a whole group of people on how some of them act. When a person stereotypes, one becomes closed-minded because he or she refuses to listen to what others have to say. Isn’t it disrespectful?

We all need and deserve to be respected. Respect is a word that is often misunderstood. Many people think of respect as fear or backing down. Others find respect to be a form of submission or that someone is wimpy. Respect is none of these things. Respect is honesty. Respect is accepting the rights of someone else to have their beliefs. I do believe that in our country we need more of this kind of respect.

I think that we should let other people live how they want to live and not try to run each other’s lives or knock someone for being different. Our country was founded by different people with different beliefs. America is known as the melting pot for that reason. To have a more peaceful world, we need to stop putting everyone into molds and realize that if everyone was the same that it would be a boring place to live. There would be no individuality, there would be no democracy. Our country has come a long way, but I think that respect is something that still needs to be worked on. If everyone, every day, tried to give a little bit more respect, the change would be tremendous.

The main idea is that we should respect other people to the best of our abilities and pay more attention to what other people say and do. If we as individuals do this, then we as a country, a society, will be better all around. When we are respected, we gain the voluntary cooperation of people. We don’t have to use as much of our energy and resources trying to get our needs met. When people respect one another, there are fewer conflicts. It is for both evolutionary and practical reasons that respect is important, and also why we simply feel better when we are respected.

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]