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Could You Still Show Respect to Someone You Dislike? Would You?

Could You Still Show Respect to Someone You Dislike? Would You?

Do you respect everyone? Would you show everyone and anyone respect, including people who have made mistakes that may seem unforgivable?

Merriam-Webster defines respect as:

  • a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.
  • a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way
  • a particular way of thinking about or looking at something

However, does that mean if something is not valuable, expensive, or important, respect should be waived? How about someone who is not smart, or maybe not important? What about a working class person with little achievement or social class standing? Does that mean they do not deserve to be treated appropriately?

We see examples of disrespectful behavior in our daily lives. In the online world, we see individuals who are targeted with negative hurtful comments, from strangers who don’t even know them. An ex-convict is viewed differently and perhaps even looked down on for their past doings even if they are changed a change person now. The poor and homeless are often given less respectful treatment than the rich and privileged. A well-dressed person is treated more politely and more welcomed than someone who dresses casually.

Respect, in Reality

At home, in our neighbourhood, at our school or workplace, we are constantly in the presence of other people. This means that we need to interact with one another at some point, if not on a daily basis.

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There are those who click with us naturally and those we take an immediate liking to when we first get acquainted; there are also those we dislike from the first instant, and the connection never seems to improve no matter how much we try. Then again, there are those who have such negative attitudes and behaviour that others turn their backs on them.

When we come face to face with someone we dislike or hate interacting with, how do we still maintain the same amount of respectful treatment as we would with others? How about someone who habitually behaves rudely and has a bad attitude? What about someone who refuses to take responsibility for their actions and/or inactions, constantly pushing blame and running away from accountability?

Or worse, what if we have to interact with someone who is bad but they don’t realize they are the problem? What about selfish and manipulative people? Compulsive liars? Or those who make you hate them to the core?

Should you still demonstrate respect to them and treat them with smiles, politeness, and dignity? Can you bring yourself to do it? Would you even want to?

Some of us may believe that a person who does not respect others or even themselves in the first place does not deserve to be treated with respect in return. However, the perfect analogy would be when someone hurts you or steals from you: would you hurt them back or steal from them to show them what they deserve?

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Think of someone who has treated you with disrespect. Would you treat them with the same disrespectful behavior simply because they don’t know how to respect themselves and others? If we did that, what would the difference be between us and them?

How Practicing Respect Can Change You and Your Life

Believe it or not, we practice varying levels of respect to different people we come across. Ironically, we tend to show strangers or people we barely know more respect than people who are close to us, like our family members. We are more polite and say nicer things to our neighbors or colleagues or even the grocer than our spouses or siblings.

Respect is an innate trait and attitude we ingrain within ourselves. It is not something we have to see coming from others first before we start practicing. Respect is independent of human nature or external reasons.

Respect, like trust, has to be earned, no doubt, but when we are gracious enough to bestow the respect to others first, even when they don’t deserve it, we are essentially practicing respect towards ourselves and showing others how to respect us appropriately.

If you have difficulty showing respect to people whom you cannot stand at all, here are some tactics you might want to explore and practice rather than trying to persuade yourself to cool down or lose it each time you face the individuals head on.

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Practice Mutuality

Be sure to maintain a mutual space between each other, and practice mutual respect to others, if not with one another.  If you cannot be friendly with someone at work, at least be professional with them. If you cannot stay polite with someone in your social circle, maintain a safe distance so your interactions will be limited.

When you dislike someone and cannot treat them with respect, they will usually feel it and reciprocate the same in return. This then feeds into the negative cycle. However, when we practice mutual space and respect to people, even those we dislike or cannot tolerate, we are not only building on our tolerance, but also demonstrating our graciousness by showing others that we respect ourselves enough to not be on the same page as them.

Accept Differences in Individuals

We are all different beings. Who you are and who the other person is are completely different. You are not defined by one another — nor are you defined by their actions, characters, behaviors, and attitudes.

Accepting the differences and gaps in individuals may be hard to accept for some, given our variances in backgrounds, upbringings, cultures, education, beliefs, mindsets, and environment, but every step or finding is a learning journey for us in our lives.  Adapting to and learning from different people and situations will not only expand our vision and perspectives, but also broaden our understanding with more acceptance.

View Situations Objectively

When you have issues with maintaining mutual respect with individuals whom you can barely tolerate, try to learn to not be affected by their presence and to not take things personally. Try to view the situation (instead of the person) with objectivity.

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Perhaps the individual’s personality is a certain way that grinds on your nerves, and they can’t really help it. Rather than being affected negatively by who you are dealing with, focus on the situation. Deal with the issues and circumstances instead of with the individuals involved. This will make matters easier and more manageable.

In Other Words

There is no one or definite way to treat anyone. Mutual respect is key.

We are all worthy and deserving of respect for who we are as individuals, regardless of our social class, achievements, personality, dress sense, intellect, or even our physique. When we practice respectful behavior toward others, we are in fact respecting ourselves, and demonstrating to others how we want to be treated in return. When you respect yourself, others will respect you too.

Featured photo credit: Tennis shake hands after match via upload.wikimedia.org

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

This is why setting priorities is so important.

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3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

1. Eat a Frog

There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

2. Move Big Rocks

Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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3. Covey Quadrants

If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important and Not Urgent
  3. Not Important but Urgent
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent

    The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

    Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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    You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

    Getting to Know You

    Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

    In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

    These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

    More Tips for Effective Prioritization

    Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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