Some people believe that because they’re rich, powerful, or famous, they deserve our respect — regardless of their behavior. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Respect must be earned. You may be able to fool others, but you can’t fool yourself. If you want self-respect, it’s important to set high standards, remain true to your beliefs and values, listen to your conscience, and never stop trying until you do yourself proud.
The truth is, you owe it to yourself to do your best in life. Don’t wait to apply this principle to big things. It also applies to simple tasks such as writing a letter to a friend, working out at the gym, or spending quality time with your family. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be successful. You won’t. But at least you’ll know, in your heart, that you gave it your best effort and you lived your life the right way. And that has self-respect written all over it. Plus, when you embrace this way of thinking, you’ll end up raising your game by continually trying to better your best.
Now think about the people with whom you come into contact each day. Some of those folks demand respect because of their age, wealth, or position. Others feel entitled to respect because they’re popular, have a big office, or because they’ve won awards. And still others think that everyone deserves respect regardless of their actions. The truth is, many of them don’t even respect themselves.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, work on the top floor or down in the basement, everyone earns respect the same way. You can’t require respect or demand it. You can’t cut deals or take shortcuts. You can’t buy respect or even place a price tag on it. And that’s because respect is priceless. Earn it every day!
How Do You Feel About Self-Respect?
This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others By Frank Sonnenberg © 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.
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ACTIONS Speak Louder than Words
Be Humble: Don’t Let Success Go to Your Head
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Anita Stout says
Thanks Frank for boldly stating what should be obvious but often isn’t. I’ve run into a lot of respect entitled people in my life. They are legends in their own minds who believe that “compliance” is the same as respect – or at least they’re willing to settle for it.
Being respectable is more important than being respected since we can’t control others being respectful. When we conduct ourselves respectfully we don’t need to worry about the rest.
Frank Sonnenberg says
You’re right, Anita. I’ve also met a lot of “respect entitled people.” In fact, many of them demand respect even though they clearly don’t deserve it. As you say, they believe compliance is the same as respect. Wrong! The truth is, great leaders are effective because they’re knowledgeable, admired, trusted, and respected. There’s no need for egregious rules or strong oversight to force compliance. They have a more powerful incentive –– trust and respect.
Have a wonderful day.