RESPECT. I’m just wondering where it went? Watching the news I see fear conjured and judgment delivered from all angles. There is bias, confusion and distortion on every front. I watch what our culture calls “reality T.V.” and see rude and demeaning behavior, excesses of every kind, belittling sarcasm, and total disregard for other humans. In schools there is such bullying and cruelty that kids are driven to suicide and homicide. Even churches have become promoters of fear and judgment against anyone or anything deemed as opposition to “truth.”
This concerns me deeply because I believe RESPECT IS THE LINCHPIN OF SOCIETY.
What do I mean? A linchpin is: “something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.”(Dictionary.com) Respect has any number of definitions, but for this purpose I am talking about the willingness to treat others the way you would like to be treated – regarding other humans with dignity despite your differences in politics, race, gender, faith, outlook, preferences or opinions. Without the critical social mindset of respect for each other we begin to fall apart. Without respect there is no common ground of Goodness between us and so we begin to fear each other. This fear breeds discontent, anger, disrespect, and eventually, if left unchecked, hatred.
Lack of respect presents in two general ways:
The Obvious – we cave to our own selfishness and do not extend what we know would be the best of ourselves for someone else.
The Insidious – we subtly or not so subtly see ourselves as superior and therefore justify our lack of respect.
Most of us recognize the obvious way. We simply fail to show respect because we prefer our own comfort or ego. I don’t clean up after myself leaving dishes for my co-workers to wash. I am in a rush and cut you off or jump in front of you in line. I spout off at you because you make me angry instead of controlling myself. I ignore you because you hurt me. We all do these things at times because in the moment we want to preserve ourselves. The danger in this is that we are seeing ourselves as independent of the whole and the truth is that we are deeply connected to each other. Every single thing we do has an impact – positive or negative – on the people around us.
Much more frightening is the insidious way. Somewhere in your mind you determine that your way of thinking or being is superior to another’s. You might justify it by your income, your accomplishments, your breeding, your religion, or your lack of those things. The point is you see yourself as better but you are unaware of it to a large degree. I have experienced this often with religious people and I have also been the offender. You believe that your presidential candidate is the right choice for our country and so you judge and dismiss those who oppose you. In disgust, you disrespect people in the name of your “God.” This is insanity. The same God that created you created that person who disagrees with you. Last time I checked, God allows everyone the freedom to choose – so should we.
The fallout of the first kind is that every time we show disrespect to another human we are disrespecting ourselves. It creates a poisonous and toxic environment that replicates if not stopped. One disrespectful action provokes another. The fallout from the second insidious kind of disrespect – if taken to its extreme is genocide. Your arrogance and disrespect can convince you that you are superior and “they” are expendable. Remember the Holocaust? Cambodia? Sudan? Short of genocide, it is often the case that human rights are limited as the Jim Crow laws did in the South.
Respect is the linchpin of society because without it we destroy each other – either little by little or in mass. We are all connected. We share a planet. We need each other, and we either pollute our world with disrespect that eventually evolves into anger then hatred, or we strengthen our world with Goodness. You must not discount even the smallest opportunity to show respect because every time you show respect you strengthen the universe.
Take this new challenge as your own. Despite how you are treated, attempt to respond with respect – disagree if necessary, stand for what you believe, but do it respectfully. Every time you do…you are helping hold us together. See the bigger picture and help turn the tide of disrespect. We can change and you can lead the charge.
“Based upon everything we know about the brain in neuroscience…change is not only possible, but change is actually the rule rather than the exception. And it’s really just a question of which influences we’re going to choose for our brain. But our brain is wittingly or unwittingly being continuously shaped.” ~ Dr. Richard J. Davidson
Shape a better world! RESPECT.
RESPECT is vital for our society to survive. So where has it gone?