"We live in a diverse society, in fact a diverse world! And we must learn to live in peace and with respect for each other." — Stan Lee
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“I don’t think your friends like me.”
“What makes you think that?” I responded, surprised by what my girlfriend was saying. “They didn’t even say anything to you.”
“Exactly. They wouldn’t even look at me.”
We had just run into some of my friends and, after speaking with them briefly, I was shocked by her experience of what I had thought was a pleasant interaction.
She was right, though; they didn’t even acknowledge her, and there was no defending it. I know they meant no ill-will, but regardless of the intent, the impact that landed was disrespect.
This conversation happened two decades ago, and yet it still impacts me and influences how I interact with others.
It’s often said that respect must be earned, not given. This can lead us to offer respect to people because of things like who they know, what they know, what they can do, what they have, and how they’ve lived their life—all of which can be positive reasons to offer respect to another person.
Yet there can be other reasons for showing respect to others, reasons that can be freely offered regardless of their perceived authority.
This kind of respect is extended as a courtesy towards others simply for being human, and it can be as simple as looking someone in the eye, offering a friendly smile, and saying “hello.”
Who do you respect? And how do you demonstrate it?
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Jonas Cain is an instructional designer, facilitator of fascination, and purveyor of positivity—helping to initiate and manage positive change for individual, team, and community growth.