Respect is the foundation of a loving interaction


Merja Sankelo:

Every person wants to be appreciated and respected. It's a basic need that has been mentioned in the need theory (Maslow) and theories related to work motivation (Herzberg). If a person is not appreaciated, he or she can never be completely happy. For example one of the main reasons for divorce is the lack of respect and appreciation in the relationship. This is a sign that, for some reason, people find it difficult to show appreciation to others.

Showing appreciation and respect for others seems to have been difficult throughout history. One example of the coldness and the cruelness of some people, is slavery in the USA. Black people were denied freedom and their right to receive payment for their work. Holocaust and all the other things that were done to Jews during World War two have been condemned as dehumanising. For example, racism and discrimination for religious, sexual and age-related reasons are today's versions of those same problems that show some people's inability to show respect to other human beings.

So, what does respect actually mean ? People say that respect is considering other people as our equals; no one is better, wiser or more talented than someone else. Respect is, for eaxmple, taking other people and their opinions into consideration in different situations and actually listening to what they are saying. It's admitting that other people are capable of thinking, speaking and doing things just like us and that we are not always right. Respecting others also means that we treat them as well and as nicely as possible. It doesn't involve yelling, blaming, criticizing, judging, hitting, belittling, oppressing or dominating others. For example, there's always a feeling of superiority involved in giving orders to someone.

In the working life, it's acceptable for an employer to have power to give order to employees but that should be done in a polite manner and in a way that doesn't make the employee feel insulted or disrespected. Employees should be able to negotiate and discuss things with the employer and to have the right to express their opinions. The employer should give recognition to the employee for his or her skills and utilize them. That increases the feelings of being respected and valued in the work community. According to research, employees expect their employers to respect them and their skills. They also expect their employers to be good listeners, to trust them and to treat everyone equally and in a friendly manner.

Letting everyone be free is a sign of respect. No one can own another person and everyone has their own life. People can only know every detail about their own life and no one else's. That is why foe example in relationships everyone should let their partner express themself freely and to do whatever their inner voice is telling them to do. It's also important in parent-child relationship.

Every spirit and human are God's creations and that's why He sees us all as equals. Spirits and humans should see each other the same way. This information is a part of the foundation of the theory of Christianity and people have known it throughout human history. No one can ever be superior to another person for any reason. We just have to think that everyone is valuable. However, some people might be better at something than others (eg. World leaders, composers, singers, actors, scientists, etc.) Because of that those people might be more respected than others. Those people should, however, stay humble and not get too proud. A wise and a mature soul never underestimates another person and is aware of the basic value that everyone has. Because there are still many people who have only started their spiritual development or haven't even started it yet, respecting others is still not a universal thing that comes naturally to everyone.

Human dignity and the importance of respecting others was mentioned already by Jesus in his sermon on the mount, which is understandable because while he was on Earth, he was the messenger of God. Some philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant has said that respecting others is the most important principle in the world. In order to protect human dignity, international and national laws and guidelines have been made, for example, the universal declaration of human rights that was adopted by the UN about 70 years ago. The so-called golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"  can be applied to any kind of interaction between people. It can be used as a guideline when a person is trying to improve the relationship they have with someone.

When you want to live a life full of love and make others feel good, it's important to show them appreciation and respect. Respecting the other person is the most important relationship skill and it always leads to good interaction with that person no matter what the situation is. However, for some people this might be the most challenging thing that they need to learn in this lifetime.

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