Welcome, dear readers, to part deux in my limited series on why I'm a tool… Oh, wait! That's a different article. Check back for the book “Why I'm a tool; and so can you,” by Random House publishing, on sale Fall 2020. Moving along now; the next part I'm going to talk about in this series is respect. Aretha sang about; it's something that you earn; if you don't give it you'll get a right cross to the neck. Also, it's a two way street. That said, his is what respect in a relationship means to me.Respect is one of those things that should be a given in a relationship, yet, often times it is not. Without respect a relationship does not flourish. Couples in a relationship lacking respect are not happy people. A lack of respect in a relationship truly is a cancer to the participants in the relationship.
What is respect? To me, respect is the simple notion that we conduct ourselves in such a way that we always take the feelings of our significant other into account before taking an action. Literally, it's that simple to me. Anything outside of that is simply a lack of consideration.
Here are a couple of examples I've witnessed: One time I was at a concert at the House of Blues, I'd been kicked out of the venue for some reason. I was there with one of my best friends, Kat, and her boyfriend. The boyfriend and I were arguing with the bouncer about why I got kicked out and then Kat chimed in as well, instantly, her boyfriend turned toward her and said, rather sharply, “Can you just shut up? We're dealing with this! Go sit down somewhere and look pretty.” No, he didn't say it in such a way that was at all amusing or meant to be a joke. It was rude and inconsiderate. In another example I was dating this girl several years ago. She made a habit of making snide remarks about my intelligence. For instance, she would give me crap about the fact that I was going to community college while she was going to a prestigious university on a scholarship. She would also take shots at me just be slow when it came to conversations. I mean, really crappy stuff and it was usually around our friends. My friends would tell me to stand up for myself, but I would make excuses for her. It wasn't until one day I just snapped and I released all of this pent up anger and frustration when she'd made just one little comment to me about something I was wearing. We broke up after that. Clearly, there was a lack of consideration for my feelings and, really, my intelligence. That sucks.
Something needed to happen and breaking up was part of the process… It didn't end there, however. In finding out how important it was for my significant other to respect me, I had to understand why she didn't in the first place. What I found was that I didn't really respect myself. I didn't stand up for myself when I was affronted, I just took it and that's never right. I had a lot of tough questions to ask myself and a lot of soul searching to do. It took time, but it's really made all the difference. I know what I can and cannot deal with from people and that' comes from having respect for who I am.
Obviously, respect doesn't end with being considerate of a person's way of thinking or their feelings. Respect is also being understanding that people need space, too. Sometimes a person doesn't want to spend every day of the week with their partner. That's just too much for some. Respect is the ability and willingness to talk things through when a problem arises; the ability to listen and the willingness to understand. Respect is also having faith and trust in your partner and them having trust in you. Respect is the willingness to instill confidence in your partner and make them feel good about themselves.
Sure there are more ways that respect can be shown, but I think I've covered some of the more basic areas. In a healthy relationship the expectation should be, with regard to respect, that your partner will listen to your ideas, heed your thoughts and words, participate in activities that you like, or at least pay attention and act interested. Furthermore, your partner should be expected to be encouraging and nurturing, be trustworthy and understanding in times of difficulty. Remember that respect is a two way street so for what ever it is you expect from your partner, be prepared to return the favor, without question.
The consequences of a relationship that lacks common respect is surely failure. It's not just that, though. In my experience, I definitely felt my self esteem had been leveled. I felt stupid and idiotic. There are countless ways a lack of respect can negatively impact a person, let alone a relationship. Continuing in a relationship with a lack of respect is pointless, especially if communication is not present. If someone is in a relationship lacking the very basic components of respect that I mentioned above then one needs to ask themselves if that is really a worthwhile relationship? Chances are that it's not.