Respect – Hard to Come By, Easy to Lose

Note: This post was not inspired by the example listed below, but it made for, well, a good example.

Respect has many definitions, but the ones that we will use for this are, as defined by The Collins Dictionary:

1. an attitude of deference, admiration, or esteem; regard
2. the state of being honoured or esteemed
3. polite or kind regard, consideration
4. to have an attitude of esteem towards
5. to concern or refer to

Respect has to be earned, slowly and mostly through deeds, which is then accelerated and amplified by word of mouth. A raised value in the eyes of others, that is respect.

What we are focusing on is how easily respect is lost. To use an analogy, a martial artist might dominate a fight, but should he leave one dangerous opening to his opponent, he might find himself barely conscious on the mat instead of holding aloft the trophy.

There is a great difference between forgiveness and respect.

1. to cease to blame (someone or something)
2. to grant pardon for a mistake
3. to free from penalty
4. to free from the obligation of

One important point is that this respect is [>99%%) irrevocably lost and forgiveness is inconsequential.

Let’s use a… classic… example.
A husband has had an affair with his… secretary, to make this example really clichéd. His wife of 20 years forgives him. Is this marriage likely to succeed? J. thinks no.

And the reason is while the wife might no longer hold the husband accountable, he has demonstrated a fatal flaw in his character. The trust is no longer there. The respect is no longer there. And without mutual respect in a relationship, it is doomed to fail, regardless of whether forgiveness has taken place or not.

So it is, that you should watch your behaviour, watch your language and control your emotions, because respect, once lost, is nigh impossible to retrieve.

Example (from a very long time ago):
An acquaintance of J.’s, outraged by J.’s pulling out of a project (that was doomed to fail and had 0 returns), was very reasonable to J. to his face (J. told him and the reasons). He returned home and poured out his anger online, dredging up imagined slights from the past, trying to strike at anything he could. His cowardice, his self-centred self-righteouness, transformed a situation in which J. was very much in the wrong to one into which he had gone too far. J. told him online that he would not longer respond.

In person, J. ignored the acquaintance until acquaintance approached him and said, “Were you serious about what you said?” Yes.

He never apologised. J. did not, and does not expect him to make amends. Should the acquaintance seriously require assistance, J. will help. When they meet, J. is cordial, possibly even friendly.

However, J. will almost certainly never respect him again, based on this one incident.

There is hope… Over time… with a great deal of effort… no further slip-ups… respect can be regained. Difficult, yes, improbably, yes, but possible.

This is the Acute presentation.

Currently, there seems to be a Sub-acute presentation in another of J.’s acquaintances, whom the working group are losing respect in. Same problems… slightly longer duration of onset.

J. thinks that this is sad for the person (who inspired this post).

He/She shall remain anonymous.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by anonymous on April 6, 2012 at 2:26 am

    You know this brings an excellent example to mind that just happened today, C. would not respect my family member K. who is not in town and on his way to Tennessee right now. i have little or no respect for people that disrespect my family. Especially if they are not there to defend themselves.


  2. Posted by anonymous on April 6, 2012 at 2:28 am

    the only reason i have talked to this person about it is he has been a long time friend. so…


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