Respect for one another is at the very foundation of all friendships, working partnerships, and intimate relationship. Without respect we are unable to relate well to each other and gradually resentments will build.
So what, exactly, is respect? Respect is defined, by Merriam-Webster, as high or special regard or the quality or state of being esteemed.
My favorite way to define respect is with a quote from Paul Meshanko, a professional speaker, author, and business leader specializing in respectful workplace development and organizational culture change.
“Respect is an active process of non-judgmentally engaging people from all backgrounds. It is practiced to increase our awareness and effectiveness, and demonstrated in a manner that esteems both us and those with whom we interact. ”
So why is respect so very important to the foundation of relationships?
Respect is important because it shows that you value one another. It is a combination of appreciation, admiration, and recognition of a person being worth something. People who are disrespectful often have few friends and alliances, and others do not enjoy being near them.
When you don’t have mutual respect in your relationships things can start to fall apart. Disrespect can cause emotional pain, grudges, lack of self worth, and resentments. Over time you can feel demoralized, emasculated, and your confidence will be destroyed. On a more serious note, consistent disrespect in our most intimate relationships can lead to critical self talk, anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression.
And the biggest consequence of all… This all leads to a decrease in connection and emotional intimacy in your relationships.
However, “When we’re treated with respect, our brains literally light up and perform at their highest levels.” -Paul Mashenko
So ask yourself, do your relationships have a foundation built upon mutual respect? If not, maybe these tips will help you get started.
Recognize that every opinion is valuable
Express & receive feedback without making it personal
Stop collusion, direct the issue back to the owner
Practice authentic listening
Encourage discussion of ideas & issues, not people
Celebrate each other’s successes
Treat others as they wish to be treated
–Courtesy of The University of Kansas School of Nursing
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