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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?
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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 November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)
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It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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