Whether with your peers, colleagues, siblings, friends, children, or significant others, you probably desire a level of respect in all of your relationships. At minimum, most would agree every human being deserves a basic level of respect and human decency. Beyond the basics however, respect is usually seen as a relational attribute that is earned. How it translates in many relationships, both romantic and otherwise, usually has everything to do with a word that is often downplayed — responsibility. In many situations, whether noticed or ignored, responsibility and respect tend to hang out like best friends — where you see one, the other is not far behind. So, if you desire more respect, you may consider accepting more responsibility as part of your strategy. If you’re demanding respect without having much responsibility, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. And, if you’ve heard yourself say, “he doesn’t respect me,” “she doesn’t respect me,” “they don’t respect me” on more than one occasion, it’s probably time to do something about it. The six tips below promise to not only bolster your level of respect but positively impact mutual respect, thus making your relationships healthier in the process.
Tip 1: Use Healthy Boundaries versus No Boundaries —In every interaction, the other person seeks both verbal and non-verbal cues to understand who you are and how they should treat you. If you have no clear boundaries, standards, preferences, likes, dislikes, understanding of where you begin, and where they end, you only serve to reinforce what you have already screamed “you don’t matter,” “you don’t exist,” “you’re not valuable.” Only you can hold yourself responsible for having and knowing what your boundaries are so you can share and hold others accountable to keeping them.
Tip 2: Be Courageous versus Shakeable —Dare to be vulnerable and speak the truth in love. Dare to be consistent so others may see your steadiness and know that you won’t buckle under the slightest pressure. Dare to own when you’re wrong, learn from your mistakes, and be willing to change your mind when wisdom calls for your attention. All of the above are signs of courage that deserve respect. Together, they indicate you’re taking responsibility for your own growth.
Tip 3: Be of Service versus Waiting to be Served — It’s always within your power to look for and anticipate the needs of the other person than choose to fill them. Everyone can use a helping hand and the best help is the one you don’t have to ask for. Be the person who thinks to serve the other person without being requested to do so, then do it to the best of your ability. When genuine, this type of sacrifice often yields respect.
Tip 4: Strive for Equity versus Exploitation — It’s not about this for that or everything being equal in a relationship, it’s more about justness and/or equity. When you’re honest about it, how does your list of responsibilities compare to that of the other person in the relationship? Are the items equitable? If not, it’s your move. Explore and find ways to be a more equitable contributor in sharing more of the burden and pulling a bit more of the weight.
Tip 5: Use Integrity versus Broken promises — Being experienced as someone who keeps their word is very powerful when it comes to respect. Doing what you say you’re going to do and completing the process is often critical to a person feeling like they’re in good hands. As you accept the responsibility of keeping your commitments, following-up, following through, and communicate effectively, you may get more than just respect, you may encounter both gratitude and appreciation.
Tip 6: Be Respectful versus Disrespectful — If your words, actions, attitudes, and intentions are disrespectful toward others, you’re more likely to attract and receive the same kind of disrespect. The more you respect yourself, the more likely you are to receive a reciprocated gesture. Your own behavior is your most powerful model. It’s not about demanding respect from others, it’s more about being the respect you demand so they can copy and honor your example.
Dr. Nicole LaBeach is a success strategist who has changed the lives of all who dared to strive for their personal best. She represents a new generation of life, relationship, and executive coaches. Dr. Nicole is the CEO of Volition Enterprises, Inc., a premiere personal and professional development firm. Please visit her website: www.askdrnicole.com.