Respect

What is that one thing that man can effortlessly give to another? It is possible that elements like love, money, time, etc. would have flashed your mind had you paused for a while to ponder over the question I raised. I am sure that most of you had come across the term: unconditional love. Whether it is possible to give unconditional love or not is a moot point, and the answer in either way demonstrates that a lot of investment is needed in order to give love. So giving love is not effortless. Money, one of the few exceptions to Diminishing Marginal Utility, is, though not the last thing to give up, not an easy commodity to part away with. Lesser amounts of money for global charity works as compared to the wealth getting accrued to the rich and the new-rich is a testimony that money is a hard-to-giveaway article. Those who know about the value of time rightly and wisely choose where to invest the limited time available. The fact that we are largely configured with a 3-stage cycle of sleep, work and recreation in almost equal scale, investing 8 hours available under recreation in our likes and dislikes is a judicious decision. It means that our time is also not easily and effortlessly available for anyone. So, what is that which we can give effortlessly to anyone? Respect. Yes, man can effortlessly give respect to others. 

What  is respect? Or, how do we define respect? Respect is honoring one’s own commitment to the norms governing human values. Respect is also honoring others’ commitment to the norms governing human values. If we club these two, respect is honoring one’s own commitment as well as others’ commitment to the norms governing human values. So it is clear that respect has two dimensions: self-respect and respect for others, and the former is a prerequisite for the latter. It is highly unlikely for a man to respect others — their values — if he does not respect himself — his values. In the same breath, we need to understand that it is not possible for a man to have a set of values, still, not honor them because the only sign of life that values possess is the honor with which they are upheld. Values are sitting-dead if they are not upheld. The elements of value system that man has to have in order to keep himself on the default track of self-respect mode are honesty, righteousness, humility, kindness and similar virtues of goodness.

Though understanding increases the level of respect, it is not necessary that someone has to understand someone else to show respect toward him or her. Manifestations of respect are acknowledgment and appreciation. Acknowledgement is making the other person aware that you have taken note of his/her presence and that you are willing to listen to him/her. Appreciation is one step ahead from acknowledgement, where you recognize and applaud the goodness and achievements that the other person had brought onto the table. Only can a man who acknowledges and appreciates the goodness in him show the willingness to honor the goodness in others. In other words, those who cannot acknowledge and appreciate, i.e. respect, others have their own values sitting-dead inside them. 

Unappreciative mind as well as appreciation bereft of enthusiasm — half-hearted gesture — possibly reflect an element of jealousy. To appreciate others, man needs a lot of courage to overcome the inbuilt inhibiting element called jealousy. Jealousy is a big hindrance to progress in life; it ties down a man to the narrow confines of his mind, where he, instead of competing to acquire the attributes of success, gets obsessed with his limited knowledge about others’ success, thereby absenting himself from exploring the times that offer opportunities for progress. It is impossible to fake ourselves because our subconscious mind takes inside and responds to the dominant thought dwelling on the top of our mind. You may have experienced that irrespective of your desire to have a positive mindset, you often tend to have the opposite. This happens when the strength of the negative forces like jealousy is more than those of the positive desires. If you want to be a man of virtues, you have to be a man of virtues as there is no other go — you can possibly game all but yourself.

Appreciation, the integral soul of respect, is also a two-way journey as it gives a return in proportion or more to the investment you put up for it. For example, if peer jealousy can be replaced with appreciation, then it has the potential to be a powerful factor that motivates you to succeed in life. Let me explain this with an example. Our life is like a river. All rivers get born in the mountain-highs as pools of water, and in order to become rivers, they break their way out through hard rocks as streams, take a plunge of thousands of feet down along the rocky mountains, land on plains with cuts and bruises. Yet they quickly organize themselves to begin the new journey as rivers. As stream begins new journey and flows down the plains, it grows in length and breadth as tributaries get added to them, finally, becoming a full-fledged river. We are all pools of waters as we begin our life. As we flow, tributaries of knowledge get added to us, and we become rivers of length, breadth and depth, churning out fertile soils from underneath – the fertile soils of life’s reflections as we experience. Why do some people continue to remain as pools of water while others stream out and flow as rivers?

The internal pressure generated from the success ingredients is the force that breaks the hard rocks of life’s tests and tribulations, enabling us to stream out from the pools of our self-inflicted limitations. But this internal pressure will be created only if we are on a positive mental framework which also includes acknowledging and appreciating the feats of streaming out by our neighboring pools. We can learn from their success — how they managed themselves to stream out to become rivers — and use such learning as an impetus adding to the internal pressure. But for this to happen, our dominant thought should not be jealousy but of showing respect toward the success of others — acknowledging and appreciating their feats.

As we all know, change is inevitable, but changing oneself is neither inevitable nor unavoidable but optional. Over the years, we change physically by growing older, but that does not guarantee a transformative change in emotional and mental spheres. Unlike physical growth, growing mentally and emotionally is tumultuous and painful, but it is a regenerative process where you molt and shed off the inherent inhibitive and unwholesome habits that stagnate you in the pool and adorn new traits that commensurate with or exceed the physical growth. It is a transformative change involving sprouting of positive mindset. Do make respect — acknowledging and appreciating — for others a part of your mindset as it adds value to and hasten your own progress in life.

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