I was taught as a child that when I see an elderly person – I greet, when on a bus or at a reception and an elderly person walks in – I should rise, so they can sit. All of these values and more, are rapidly disappearing from today’s world, leading to the prevalent belief among people, especially the younger generation, that – Respect is Old School.
Respect is a vital part of how people interact with each other – it may be defined as the esteem paid by one human being to another. In other words, respect is the acceptance of someone for who they are, regardless of their age, height, skin color, beliefs, social status and other countless variables.
“Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love”. – Miguel Angel Ruiz
Let me share with you a story from years back about a man named Juan who worked at a meat distribution factory in the United States. One day, when he finished with his work schedule, he went into the meat cold room for inspection, but by mischance, the door closed and he was locked inside the cold room of about -20C with no help in sight. Although he screamed and knocked with all his might, his cries went unheard as no one could hear him. Majority of the workers had already left and it was impossible to hear what was going on inside the cold room from outside. While Juan was on the point of death, the factory’s security guard finally opened the door and saved his life five hours later.
Guess what saved his life – Juan then asked the security guard how he managed to unlock the door, as it wasn’t part of his regular work routine and the security guy explained: “I’ve been working in this factory for 35 years, hundreds of workers come in and out every day, but you’re one of the few who greets me in the morning and says goodbye to me every night when leaving after working hours. Many treat me as if I am invisible.
So today, like every other day, you greeted me in your simple manner ‘ Hello ‘ at the entrance when resuming work. But curiously, after working hours today, I observed I’ve not heard your ‘ bye! see you tomorrow ‘. Hence I decided to check around the factory.”
Juan could have frozen to death. His apparent humility and respect for others regardless of their status saved his life.
Here are Three reasons why being respectful to everyone around you is very important:
1. You Never Know Where Anyone is Going in Life
Have you ever heard the saying that “some have entertained angels unawares”? You never know who may be of help to you thereafter. When you show respect, you’re sowing a seed that you will reap in the future.
Someone seemingly so insignificant and irrelevant today could be the only help you can get tomorrow just like the story above. So, respect everyone you meet, you never know where they will be tomorrow.
2. Every Individual is Unique
“Respect is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.” – Annie Gottlieb
When you respect someone, you accept that they have intrinsic worth, so they deserve to be treated with dignity. And if that’s true for others, it’s true for you. If you deny the value of others, you deny your own value as well.
So, Always Show Respect!
3. It Speaks to Your Character
“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” – Abigail Van Buren
The way you treat others reflects who you are on the inside. People usually don’t notice if you go to church, drink or swear. If you want to earn people’s trust and a good reputation, show respect to everyone you meet.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
If you treat someone with dignity and respect, that dignity and respect will speak for you!
Respect Everybody, Respect is Not Old School.
Whether it’s the cashier at the supermarket, your security guard, your housekeeper, a business colleague, or someone you met on the queue at the bank, you can make a difference by being courteous and respectful; it’s worth it!
Remember, You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT!