Respect is defined as: "a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."
If you've read my blog posts before, you know I am a big believer in respect. I don't care if you are a doctor or the cashier at my gas station, you deserve my respect. Why? Because you are a human being, who is doing their job, which is in some way or other in service to me.
I've been talked down to, made to feel like I was stupid, and treated like a second (in some cases, third) class citizen. For too many years, I was a housewife. I kept our home. I was called "a gold digger", "lazy", "drain on society", etc. I divorced and work in a not so different field these days...I'm a caregiver. I go into people's homes and cook their meals, clean their homes, do their laundry, etc. No matter their difficulties, I always treat my clients with respect. I don't know all of their back stories and how they came to need someone like me, but if they are calling on me for help, their lives took a much different turn than they imagined it would. However...the first time, you talk down to me as if you are more knowledgeable of things or are smarter than me, I will shut you down. I may not have a college degree, but I'm working on it. I may not have a nice house, but I'm working on it. What makes you so much better than me? I'm curious. Because you made all the right decisions and lived life the way you were "supposed to"?
My grandma always told me "People in glass houses shouldn't walk around nude or throw stones." I find that to be true. I have clients who have opened up to me after being very haughty with me. What have I discovered? You, too, hath fucked up! You may not have made the same mistakes I've made, but you have made mistakes that led you to places you never wanted to be.
Do you think I WANTED to be divorced and a college student at my age? Hardly, but I can tell you that I'm happy with my choices. Being in college at my age isn't easy, by any means, but I love it! The introvert in me loves watching the people interact with each other on campus. The student in me feels starved for the education. And the woman in me, well, she loves it when she catches a certain man's eye and he tells her that he thinks she's 10-15 years younger than she is. (What? I'm a bit vain, I'll admit it!) And standing on my own? It's an incredible feeling! I feel empowered for the first time in my life! I don't mind my job, but I don't want to stay in it forever. There's so much more to explore and do!
While respect is something that can be earned, it is also something that should be given. That cashier at the gas station? He may be working on his degree at night while being a single dad. That doctor? She may have worked her butt off to get a 2.0 in her pre-med which barely eked her into the medical program at her college. You don't know the whole story behind why someone is doing the job they're doing. That janitor you made fun of in high school may have owned his own company, but lost it when times got tough. He/She took the only job they could get to put food on their family's table. Let that sink in for a moment. We are all simply one decision away from being at the low end of the totem pole.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: An easy concept to understand; a difficult one to incorporate.
And because this seems to be the appropriate song for this post: