The Definition of Respect ~ Do Disrespectful People deserve to be Respected?By
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to YOU………
A lot of my emotional healing grew out of realizing the truth about some of the concepts that I had been taught wrong. The people who were in a position of power in my life taught me a lot of false definitions of words like love, respect, relationship, trust, forgiveness and a few others. Growing up from so young with the false definitions I had been taught caused me to automatically accept them as the truth.
Yesterday on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be respected…” and it got me thinking about how much learning the truth about definitions of certain key words and concepts helped me in my process of overcoming depression, trauma and low self-esteem.
When I refer to a person in a position of power I am not just referring to our teachers, the police, or judges or government. I am also referring to “our elders” and our families. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in a positions of power in my life. My in-laws were in a position of power in my marriage and in our lives. All these people were in that power position because they were “the adults” and I was a child. In my childhood that meant that they were right and I was wrong. In my adulthood, this belief didn’t change because they never let it. In both cases (as a child and as an adult) this is called a dysfunctional relationship because the elders decide and communicate that not everyone in the relationship has equal value.
It was a huge part of my survival mode to go along with these false teachings and when I became an adult I still believed the false truth that they were right and I was wrong because I had never known anything different and I didn’t know what the real definition of respect was.
People are quick to tell us that we ‘should respect’ our parents. Our parents tell us that they should be respected. One time when I was in my thirties my mother referenced the bible to me saying “what happened to that bible verse that says ‘honour thy mother and thy father’?” This was her way of dictating to me that if I went against anything she wanted or whatever she said, that I was being disrespectful. But is that the truth? Is not doing what someone else wants or not agreeing with what they say the same as being disrespectful? Is standing up for yourself and your human rights a display of disrespect?
I get a lot of comments in this website about respect that communicate that most of us have accepted a false definition of the word respect when it comes to whoever we believe is in a position of authority or power oin our lives.
So what is respect?
Based on the following definition of respect, do you think that abusive controlling or manipulative parents should be automatically respected?
Do you think that parents who neglect their children or do not protect them from danger, or teach/communicate to them that whatever they are upset about or any wrong done to them, is something they brought on themselves?
- 1. re·spect/ri?spekt/
Have you ever used or do you use the above definition of respect as a guideline to understanding what you are being accused of when you were being called “disrespectful”?
“One of the “golden rules” that is usually taught in society is to respect your parents (as well as your elders). Although you may not like them, or what they do, you should always have respect for them. Think about it: they have to put up with you too on a daily basis! Everyone knows that sometimes they are hard to be around, but your parents love you and just want to raise you to be the best that you can be. The least you can do for them is to show them respect, which means listening when they are talking, not talking down to them, and not raising you voice to them, among many other things.”
This is the kind of teaching I run into all the time. What the heck does this even mean? There are no “unless they are abusing you” parts to this teaching. This teaching assumes that the parents have the best interests of the child in mind. But what about when they DON’T. In this website we are usually talking about when they don’t have the adult child or the young child’s best interests in mind at all.
And another thing to consider; by this definition of respect in the above quote, what about when parents don’t listen to their children? What about when parents talk down to their children? What about when parents raise their voices to their children? Parents always seem to be exempt from these directives!
Children learn what is modeled to them by the adults in their lives. They learn from the people who have power in their lives. Children learn by example and the only way to teach respect is to BE respectful.
In the case of most of the people who read Emerging from Broken, the people who have been in power and authority in our lives, have misused their power. Do they still deserve respect?
Unless they acknowledge their disrespect and stop misusing their power, I don’t think so. I think that people who ARE respectful deserve to be respected. Respect is not an automatic or a ‘given’. Respect is earned by actions based in the true definition of love.
Please share your thoughts! I made huge leaps forward when I saw these word definitions through the grid of the truth about them verses the false ways that I had been taught about them. As always you privacy is important. Please feel free to use any name you wish in the comment form. Only the name you use will be seen by others so if you don’t want your real name or your last name published, don’t use it. Your email address will always be private.
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