I’ve always cringed at the phrase “You have to earn my respect.”
And it’s such a common saying that I rarely see anyone bat an eye at it.
Even a search of that phrase brings up a bevy of resources for people desperately seeking to earn others’ respect:
- Inc: 99 Simple Ways to Gain the Respect of Others
- Forbes: You Can’t Demand Respect, You Have to Earn It
- LifeHack: 21 Ways You Can Earn the Respect of Others
In truth, everyone should already have your respect—automatically. It should be a given that other people will receive your respect, even at the first moment you meet. Especially in this era of the internet, where you can often interact with hundreds of people a day without ever having more than just a passing shared moment with them.
Respect is defined, in part, as: “
A challenge with the notion of earning one’s respect is that the respect giver must deem the other person worthy of respect by displaying some trait that the respect giver admires (generally a trait he or she admires about themselves or aspires to have).
But take two very different people from two very different cultures. It’s possible, and even likely, that due to the cultural differences the “respect giver” will find it challenging to, in essence, see themselves in the other person. Does that make the other person any less deserving of respect?
Don’t worry about others earning your respect. Think about how you can show respect.
This isn’t to say that people can’t lose your respect by acting in ways that are harmful to others. But take the pressure of judgment off of yourself in early interactions. See the other person as someone who has also undergone challenges, hardships, and successes. See the other person as a person.