Lack of Respect Is Nothing New
Unfortunately, I’ve experienced a lifetime of hearing men make off-colored comments, thereby demeaning others of my sex.
As I write this post, the newscasts aimed at a comment our President made about a morning talk show host bombard my television screen. His words were a mirror of the types of comments my father made each day as I grew up.
At school, the boys teased the girls unmercifully about their size, face, hair, body shape, and worse. These guys weren’t horrible examples of manhood; they repeated the same things they heard their friends, and sometimes fathers say behind women’s backs.
Respect Begins With Me
The pitiful thing is that women like me have put up with this abuse for decades. We have been groomed to believe that our lives are dependent on the men in our lives. These people hold the position of husband, boss, minister/priest/rabbi, banker, and many times doctor. For a lifetime, we’ve learned that we need to do whatever it takes to make them happy.
Why was it so important that I race home to set the table before my husband got home from work? Because Mom and Grandma told me it was.
How in the world did I accept that I could do the same job as a man for less pay? Was my self-esteem that low?
When is it appropriate for a man I don’t know to make sexual comments to me when my only crime is walking down the street in a business suit, high-necked blouse, and high heels?
Who has the right to make me believe that I need to remain subservient to the men who still control this world?
Respect Is A Pattern Of Healthy Behavior
No relationship can be healthy unless all parties show respect for each other. It’s simply a fact of life.
I’m not talking simply about respect for women here. I’ve seen plenty of relationships where the man is a sweetheart, and it’s his wife who’s abusive. Being in a healthy relationship doesn’t mean you won’t disagree sometimes. But, you should keep the conversation non-threatening and respectful of your partner’s intelligence and feelings. There is never an excuse for not valuing another’s opinions.
I had a boss who interrupted me constantly. He never listened to my understanding of a customer situation to help me come up with a solution that benefited the customer. I was expected to hand them his solution without considering their needs first and foremost. That’s a blatant example of the lack of respect for both the customer and me.
Healthy Behavior Showing Respect Requires That You:
- Honor the other person’s boundaries
- Be honest about everything
- Listen without being judgmental
- Speak kindly
- Appreciate what someone does for you
- Show gratitude to those who honor you with a favor
- Encourage the other person’s interests
- Never threaten or engage in name calling
- Avoid demeaning another’s looks or intelligence
- Learn how to compromise when you don’t agree
- Commit to sharing the responsibilities equally
The above is only a short list. You’ve been around long enough to understand what respect looks like up close. It’s something that both men and women need to adhere to each and every day. As a nation, we’re all getting rather tired of the rhetoric and lack of respect we see on the news every evening. Don’t be a jerk and allow this type of behavior to become your norm. To do so will destroy you and everyone around you.
Respect for Women and Trust for their Man Go Hand-In-Hand
No man can show respect for women if he continually manages to lose their trust. You can’t respect someone you don’t trust.
What does that mean for the men and women out there who are having a problem with their relationships?
It’s simple. You can show your respect to your significant other whenever you’re with them. But, if you demean your spouse or love interest to your friends, co-workers, or family, they’ll get the message loud and clear. I’ve seen so many knowing nods and hateful smirks in my life, and I’m astounded that people don’t realize how transparent they are.
I was so lucky in life to have men I trusted and respected in my life. My grandfather, my husband, my brother, and my uncles were incredible role models for a girl who desperately needed someone she could depend on for a lifetime.
My advice to you is to make certain you never lose the trust of the people who matter. Once you lose trust, you will never be able to respect them again.
Learn to Respect Yourself
It all begins with you. If you can’t respect yourself, you’ll never get the respect of others.
One of the biggest truths in life is that you can change your outlook. Showing respect for women and men is only the beginning. We begin by living truthfully and by showing kindness to others.
One of the best tools I’ve found is to develop a gratitude journal. I write everything I’m grateful for in the journal. It keeps my mind grounded, so I don’t become overly judgmental on things that don’t matter. (Like shaving cream splatters on the mirror in the bathroom.) When you look at the important things in life that mean everything to you, it’s easy to overlook the little things you should take with a big dollup of humor.
Stop beating yourself up and understand most of the things that went wrong in life weren’t your fault. For those things, you’re regretful for doing? It’s never too late to apologize.
I used to beat myself up because I never felt like I measured up to the other girls. When they made fun of me, I believed I deserved it.
The truth was that someone hurt me. I couldn’t control it, and I certainly couldn’t stop it. I was a little kid at the mercy of others, and no one took the time to watch out for my safety. That doesn’t make me unworthy. It actually made me so much stronger.