Respect: Was Rodney Dangerfield Right?

Respect: Was Rodney Dangerfield Right?

“I don’t get no respect.”

Respect: Was Rodney Dangerfield Right?Rodney Dangerfield will forever be known for saying that and sharing funny stories about just how much respect he didn’t get. But for many, feeling disrespected is a common occurrence that makes living a happy life difficult. Respect is something everyone wants, but not everyone receives.

Recently, I was working with a client who was frustrated with everyone because he felt no one respected him. His boss didn’t, his co-workers didn’t, his family didn’t – apparently, everyone in his life lacked respect for him. Regardless of whether or not he truly didn’t get the respect he wanted from others, the bigger question he needed to answer was whether or not he respected himself.

Do You Respect Yourself?

Without respect for yourself you aren’t likely to respect anyone else. And, when you don’t respect yourself or others, you can’t expect them to respect you. When I first asked if he respected himself he started with, “Sure I do. Of course.” So, I asked more questions:

  • Tell me how you respect your physical health? Do you eat right, exercise, get enough sleep? Do you stay away from risky behaviors and addictions? Do you take care of yourself?
  • Tell me how you respect your mental and emotional health? Do you spend time with people who make you happy and engage you in learning, loving, and positive activities and communication? Do you create and accomplish goals that make you feel good about yourself and others?
  • Tell me how you respect yourself spiritually? Do you engage in spiritual time with people who support your beliefs? Do you meditate or pray? Do you set aside time to honor your higher power?

As we went through each of these it became obvious that he didn’t fully respect himself. In fact, he didn’t even seem to like himself at all. Then, once we started talking about his life and how he related to his family, friends, and colleagues it became even more apparent. He felt shame and guilt for things he did, didn’t do, and wanted to do. And this was stopping him from having self-respect.

Respect Yourself

When you have self-respect you don’t worry as much about what people think of you. You know internally what you have to offer and are confident within yourself. That confidence allows you to let negative comments roll off you without affecting you. To respect yourself, start by asking yourself “What do I need or not need so that I can truly like and respect myself? Your answers may surprise you, and they can often be goals to set and work on. To respect yourself you must:

  • Love Yourself. Ignore your flaws (we all have them), let go of the negative things that happened to you, and instead look at your qualities and abilities. Appreciate where you’ve been and what has happened because it probably has taught you things. Appreciate yourself for the good that IS inside you, and then work on growing that goodness.
  • Believe in Yourself. You can succeed – YOU must believe that before anyone can. Sure, you may make mistakes along the way. Maybe you haven’t always made good choices and decisions, but believe in what you can do and starting RIGHT NOW.
  • Ignore Negatives. You always have a choice on whether to focus on the positives or the negatives in life, but whatever you focus on grows and grows. Focus on negatives, and you will have a life full of them. Focus on the positives, and you’ll have so many you can’t count them all.

Earning Respect

Whether you want to develop your self-respect or earn the respect of others, there are some things you can do to help build the respect you desire:

  • Keep your promises – to others and yourself.
  • Don’t gossip – Everyone has traits that are desirable and undesirable – including you. Respect people for who they are even if you don’t like them.
  • Practice humility – No one is perfect. No one is always right. No one is the best at everything. Learn from others. Everyone has something to offer.
  • Add value to everything you do, and everyone you are with. Add value to your community, your company, and your family and friends. By selflessly doing good things for others, you add value to everything around you.
  • Listen, don’t talk – Genuinely listen to people, give them your full attention rather than simply waiting until you get to talk again. Don’t talk about you, ask about them.
  • Care about others – be empathetic, understanding, and helpful. Helping others is a healing process for both parties.

The more you give of yourself, without expecting anything back in return, the more value you will see in yourself and that will bring respect into your life. Respect is about recognizing, acknowledging, and building on the positive qualities that are present. Figure out what that means to you personally, and then start making changes to live a life that exemplifies those qualities. You’ll respect yourself for it, and others will, too.