It is interesting to consider why we instinctively respect some people, but others can be very hard to appreciate. Respect doesn’t necessarily mean we have to agree with everything they say; respect comes from people’s inner life, and the values and beliefs they hold. If someone is sincere, honest and self effacing it is easy to respect them, even if they believe in a different life philosophy. If we can understand why some people instinctively gain respect, we can learn to implement these characteristics in our own life.
We do not command respect by excessively talking. The oft repeated saying ‘actions speak louder than words’ is very applicable here. If we do the right thing and become the right person, we do not to justify our actions with words. Talking less does not mean that we ignore the power of the spoken word; it means that we speak when necessary. Don’t get worked up by every small incident; intervene only on important events. If we are judicious in speaking people will give more importance to our words. If we speak loudly on every minor issue, people will just start to swtich off.
True words aren’t eloquent;
eloquent words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.
– Lao Tzu.Tao Te Ching Verse 81
Everyone likes to have their own say. If we can patiently listen to others they will appreciate our concern and attention. Even if it is a little boring and repetitive, there is no harm in listening to what others have to say; listening to others shows that we are interested in them as a person. Listening more is the perfect complement to talking less. When we talk we try to influence others, when we listen we appreciate others; it is important to get the right balance.
There is a big difference between sincere appreciation, and flattery which hopes for similar words to be repaid in kind. Take the time to look for people and actions which really deserve appreciation and be generous in offering it to others. It is also important to be judicious in offering praise to others; if we do it all the time it starts to become insincere.
It is easy to build up lists of people we like and people we dislike. Our mind gets drawn to the faults of others, but if we are always picking up on the limitations and faults of others, it will diminish our own standing. To be non judgemental and accepting of others is a very powerful trait to develop. In society there can be a certain peer pressure to join in criticising others; there is a peer pressure to accept the gossip of the world. However, if we can be detached and non judgemental people will subconsciously respect our attitude a lot. To be really non judgemental, we should not even start criticising people who started the gossip. Our attitude can be – We have enough problems to deal with ourselves, without worrying about the failings of other people.
The importance of honesty cannot be underestimated; if you gain a reputation for being ‘slippery with the truth’ it will be difficult to gain the genuine respect of others. It is easier to be dishonest than we may imagine. When things go wrong there is a temptation to look for someone or something to blame. It takes a certain amount of courage to just be honest and accept things didn’t work out as planned; in the long run, this honesty will be appreciated.
Leave Praise To Other People
To gain the respect of other people, it will not help to remind people of why they should admire you. Good deeds will be rewarded; there is no need to force the issue. Respect often comes to those who don’t chase after it.
To gain the respect of others, it is important to have faith in yourself. This is not an egotistical pride, but modest self respect and faith in your inner capacities.
I simply do
What many dream of.
I simply do
What others talk about.
I simply become
What others dare not
Even to imagine.
- Sri Chinmoy
To gain the genuine respect of others it is important to be detached from misfortune, praise and criticism. Praise can easily go to our head and bloat our pride; this diminishes all the good work we have done before. On the opposite side, we should not get flustered by criticism. There is a great dignity in being able to just ignore unjust criticism. Some people can get easily offended at the slightest criticism and then respond in an ugly manner. If some ignorant people criticise us we diminish its importance simply be ignoring it. If we can maintain the highest principles despite any provocation people will come to appreciate and respect your inner values.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.
If we have a feeling of indispensability and our own importance, we will rub people up the wrong way. If we can be self-depreciating and aware of our own limitations, people will respect us more. It is important to avoid taking yourself too seriously, but it is also important to avoid an exaggerated false modesty which can be just as irritating.
We can easily respect someone who has magnanimous heart. If we have a large heart, we tend to tolerate and identify with the failings of others rather than making a big deal out of it. Sympathy should extend to all and not just a select few people.
Principles above Money and Power
There are numerous opportunity to increase our financial well being and personal influence at the expense of personal values. But, if we make progress at the expense of others we will lose the respect of others. Sticking to higher principles and placing others above any temporary monetary gain is a powerful way to gain the lasting respect and appreciation of others.
Photo by: Tejvan