Every now and then I come across people who, for some obscure reason, expect to be treated without respect. By that I mean, that they’ve gotten so used to being disrespected, that they actually expect it from their fellow people. When these people feel empowered they declare they demand respect. On the rare occasion that I have been treated with disrespect, I have never felt anger. I have felt surprised, amazed and superior. Yes… Superior. Because, from where I stand, people who treat others without respect have something wrong with them. Something seriously wrong. They probably haven’t been taught how people normally treat each other, and that’s of course no fault of their own, but I still feel like asking them this question: “What on earth possesses you to say/do such thing? Are you DAFT?” Often I’d actually like to ask the question if I’m being disrespected online, but at those times I usually notice that the email address wasn’t real, so wasted my breath. So they do know they are behaving badly, but for some reason, they still feel the need of doing that. First I typed that they just don’t care, but if they didn’t care, they would use their own name doing that, and most often they don’t. So they probably are ashamed of their behaviour, but they still do it. They still have the need to do it. I find it very fascinating.
When dealing with strangers you have to be really socially challenged to treat people with disrespect, but in a relationship it is sadly very common. In mother-daughter relationships especially, I would say… The disrespect coming from the mother. These are relationships that you have to endure, you can’t change your mother or your siblings, so you have to deal with the disrespect and just roll your eyes at them when they don’t see you. But the wonderful thing about being adult is that you get to choose your own friends. You don’t have to hang out with people who are disrespectful to you. Certainly, you can end up alone for a while, but I personally see that as the preferable option. You don’t have to require respect – people who you have to require respect from don’t have the capability of respecting anyone, not genuinely anyway. People who you have to demand respect from are people who you have to bully into respecting you. That’s not respect, that’s fear. Different thing, although some people can’t see the difference.
There is, of course, one thing to consider. You yourself. Are you being respectable? Are you acting in a way that deserves respect? Everyone deserves respect from strangers, I tell you that much, but people who know you, should they still respect you? Do you disrespect them? Respect goes both ways, you see. This is not a question of worship. Respect doesn’t equal worship. There is not a battle of who gets more respect, it is spread equally when things are right. You respect me, I respect you. If you disrespect me, I disrespect you. That’s the way it goes. Who starts it? Normally people start with respecting the stranger. That is where we take of, with mutual respect. Are you likely to be the one that breaks the cycle of respect and spins it into a cycle of disrespect?
If you are a teacher and lack respect from your students, you have to think about this. Do you disrespect your students? Because if you do, they will disrespect you, and the other way around. For a teacher, respecting your students is the easiest way to gain your students admiration, because students tend to expect disrespect from their teachers. When they find themselves being respected, they will probably give you the respect in ten fold. Teenagers don’t hold adults in too high regard, often for a reason. So if you prove to them that you are actually a decent person, they will treat you as a hero. When I was 16, I had a psychology teacher who always gave us the respect of considering the basis of our answers, no matter how far off we were. She was excited about every answer she heard, and she discussed them with us. I swear I could almost see a halo around her head.
While I was writing this blog I checked that I spelled “daft” correctly, because I didn’t want to sound silly. I then ended up on wikipedia explanation of “daft” and I um… Disagree. Surely “daft” doesn’t mean “silly”? I understand it referring to a person who is not completely mentally stable or has trouble functioning socially. But then I’m not a native speaker so you Brits and Aussies help me out here to prevent me from using that in a context where I aim to insult but do really bad job at it, you know, like shouting after a mob of young lads that just broke my car windows using the words: “you… you… you… rascals!”