Having Respect for Others

Having respect for others is predicated on having an open mind. This goes directly to the second part of the definition explored on the What is respect page. To reiterate, the second part of the definition from Dictionary.com read:

To show regard or consideration for: to respect someone's rights.

This goes well beyond someone's rights. It goes to showing respect for who a person is. In doing this, we open ourselves up to the possibility of learning new things and new ways of achieving results.

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Some thought processes we should avoid when trying to be respectful of others:

  • Avoid thinking in terms of stereotypes (racist or prejudice attitudes)

  • Avoid cultural biases

  • Avoid sexist views (this cuts both ways!)

  • Don't insult or make fun of people.

  • Don't follow the crowd, simply because it seems easier.

  • Don't speak over the person

  • Don't incite the crowd with negative energy

  • Don't speak behind a person's back

Some things we should seek to achieve when having respect for others:

  • Stick to your beliefs in fair play in the face of the crowd

  • Look to learn something from this new idea (represented by this person)

  • What does this culture have to teach you?

  • Think how you would feel if you were in the other person's position

  • Gather your facts, then decide (Ready-Aim-Fire ... Not Ready-Fire-Aim)

  • Listen, and then listen some more. Speak as required.

  • Be an intermediator. Look for common ground

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If you follow these simple concepts, you will be amazed at the results. Not only do you have an opportunity to learn something, but the person, likely having his own social biases, will also be given an opportunity to see you for who you are and not what he was told you were. Learning occurs on both sides! An open mind will generally create the opportunity for other minds to be open. That show of kindness, that sensitivity to another's position, will generally result in that person re-evaluating his position. That show of kindness is not only how to show respect, but also how to get respect. Remember, a handshake can only occur with open palms, and never a closed fist.

So what having respect for others really boils down to is a simple execution of the "Golden Rule":

Do onto others as you would have them do unto you

With the added benefit of seeking wisdom and knowledge to expand your understanding of the world ... in other words a great learning opportunity!

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