Building Respect

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Pop Quiz! What difficult to build and easy to knock down? Some people would say trust, and they would be right but also trust goes hand in hand with today’s topic, Respect. Now I am not talking about self-respect and that is a completely different topic for another post down the road.

I am talking about the respect you have to earn from hard work and many other factors. The one Many people wrongfully believe they should instantly get from the daily day to day transactions of life. As I said you have to earn the real respect we are craving from others.

What is Respect

Well, let’s turn to old reliable Mr. Dictionary.com

a particular, detail, or point (usually preceded by in):
to differ in some respect.

relation or reference:
inquiries with respect to a route.

esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability:
I have great respect for her judgment.

deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment:
respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.

deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment:
respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.

The first two definitions are used as a means of referencing something else. While the next two get a bit interesting and help us understand what respect is. It is the esteem for or a sense of worth. The second goes right with definition number 3 but if you see the very last part “proper acceptance or courtesy: Acknowledgment”

respect your elders sign on car window

This is what we want. We want to have some acknowledgment and appreciation for what we do. What we contribute to our friends, family, work, and community. We want people to know us. Many people confuse respect with notoriety or even some type of fame.

Respect is a type of social currency. You can only receive it when you invest in others. It is more valuable than gold yet many people don’t know how to get it or what to do when they do get some.

What respect is not

One of the biggest problems people who want respect face is that they don’t know what respect really is. They see respect as almost a type of royalty. If you don’t get out of their way they will not tolerate your insolence. Some people are viewed as having a big head or an over-inflated ego.

Respect isn’t servitude, nor is it a right to be rude to others. If you act as if it is a form of servitude you will quickly lose it.

man holding telephone screaming

Why do you want to have respect?

One of the basic human needs in life is the need to connect. When you have the respect of other people they accept you for who you are. When you have respect for others and they have respect for you, You both can have a disagreement without the name-calling and you are able to listen to what that person has to say. You can talk about different ideas and still come out of the discussion with a stronger bond and more respect for each other and still not agree.

We want the sensation of acceptance. We want a certain level of recognition, but most of all we want to have a human connection with other people. To have that we have to have trust from others and be accepted in our group.

How do you build respect?

Say you messed up and you blew all of your respect. You gambled it all away on something that turned out to be a no go. So you are starting out with no respect from anybody. The people you thought were your friends have all abandoned you and you can’t even get your mom to open the door. Ok, we have the scene. You have blown it all. Your son even thinks you have no credibility left. What do you do?

Well, you do what any millionaire would do in this case and get started on cleaning up the mess you made and start rebuilding your worth. In this case, we are talking about social capital not so much bank account. Yet they both can and often do go hand in hand.

grayscale photography of man standing at forest

Respect is a 2-way street

When it comes to respect, so many people want others to give it to them without first earning it. Like money, you have to take the time to invest in other people. Unless you do that investment you will never receive that much desired respect.

Now I have heard all the arguments about why you aren’t giving someone respect. From I have given them respect and they just keep disrespecting me to I am not about to give them any respect till they get off their high horse and apologize for the wrong they did to me. Then there is everything in between.

gray concrete road near city buildings during daytime

Much of this is tied to another point you have to have to earn respect and that is your responsibility. You have to first take responsibility for your actions. Then you have to decide what their “Disrespect” means to you. You can make it mean everything or nothing. That choice is completely up to you. If you choose for it to mean nothing then I would ask why are you worried about someone else’s actions if they don’t mean anything to you?

If you are at an impasse any you really would like to make a change and earn the respect of someone who you perceive as not respecting you then you have to make the first move. This is the same as when there are two opposing forces. They can go at each other all day and not make any headway at all. Yet if you suddenly stop or ease up then that person will eventually see the change. If they don’t recognize the change then again it is up to you to make whatever meaning you want of their actions. You can be just fine with them acting however they want. You can continue building respect through your actions and you can feel good about your work. They can continue experiencing the feelings of whatever they are feeling. Because your circumstances are neutral until you apply thought to it.

Stay calm

Another way to build respect is to stay calm. This can often be challenging. Especially if you are normally quick to act. Yet if you take the time to step back when you feel your blood pressure rise. For me when I feel my jaws get tight and my back hunches. Whatever sensation you have as to whether you are getting angry or panicky or what if you will allow that emotion to run its course before you

There are number of ways you can stay in control of your actions so you can stay calm the benefits help in more ways than just building respect.

yellow leaf tree between calm body of water at daytime

Have integrity

This is the biggest key to building respect. If you want to be respected you have to have integrity. If you are going to do something then do it. If you have a Motto you are living by then live by it. Do what you say and live your life with integrity. This allows for people to trust you and that trust is required for you to have respect.

Be a resource for others.

When you’re a leader, It helps to have the respect of the people you lead. To be able to do that you have to be a resource for your team. Provide all that they need to be able to get their objective completed. Offer them support and assistance. Encouragement is also often in need and if they know they are able to get it from you without judgment they will know you are someone who they can trust.

Ask Questions

When helping those in your team it is good to understand their “why”. What do they know? How are you supposed to help if you dont understand why they are needing a certain resource. Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn about your team. Learning about your team allows for the connection to grow and the trust to become deeper.

You head may be full of questions
Photo by Pixabay

Take full responsibility for your actions

First off, we are all going to mess up. Yet how much responsibility do you take? If you re a person who has a lot of respect you take every ounce of your responsibility. If you are late it is because you didn’t leave the house on time, it doesn’t matter if there was somebody who was broke down in the middle of the exit. You take full responsibility and you offer up solutions as to how you are going to keep that from happening.

Nobody can really give you any respect if you are passing the blame for everything. Nobody respects the habitual victim and if you are always blaming others and not owning your dirt you won’t have the trust needed for the respect you are after. The people in your group are going to wonder when you are going to throw them under the bus.

Stay away from pie crust promises

What is a pie crust promise? It is a promise that is easily made and easily broken. This points back to integrity. If you aren’t going to do what you say then make sure you say no and don’t promise something you had no intention of doing.

pie on cake stand

Don’t be a people pleaser

A people pleaser is one of the biggest liars there is. You cant have trust when you are trying to please everybody. You are working on pleasing others not for their benefit but solely for your own benefit. You don’t have the integrity nor the trust needed to have the respect you want.

If you want to respect you have to leave the manipulation and people-pleasing behind and stand on the integrity of your actions and of taking care of yourself. Sometimes you have to tell people no. You don’t have to make up an excuse. You can say sorry I am not doing that.

When talking be assertive

There are 4 types of communication. There is passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.

The passive person is the one who really doesn’t have a backbone. People pleasers often are very passive they don’t want any type of confrontation. THese people often will do things to avoid confrontation so they will shot themselves in the foot when it comes to respect.

The Aggressive person often comes across as a bully and has to show everybody they know what they are talking about. The braggart is often aggressive. They dont want to be seen as not knowing something so they will be confrontational and often harang the people they are talking to.

The passive-aggressive person is the one who will undermind the efforts because they don’t want confrontation but don’t want to be seen as weak. Yet their very actions are that of a weak person, so they come across as weasel-like.

The assertive person is the person who says what is on their mind and makes their intentions very clear. Now they can be seen as aggressive when in reality they are not. They are again simply stating what they expect and making their communication very clear. This person often has lots of respect because he has the integrity and honesty needed to be a good leader.

Stay out of the gossip mill

The best way to kill respect is to get wrapped up in the drama of a rumor mill. This will always destroy your reputation and respect because you are often talking about somebody else. If you re talking about one person then what will stop you from talking about other people.

Being caught up in rumors undermines the integrity you have so stay out of here at all costs, or you will be brought down quickly.

white and black windmill

Add Value to everything you can

No matter whether you are heading a new project or you are sweeping up at the end of the day. You will build lots of respect simply by adding more value to your work. If you do just enough to get by you will not shine. Yeah, you may be reliable, but if you add as much value to the project as you possibly can your actions will shine brighter.

And understand the value of the word NO

You have to be able to say no when someone asks you to do something. If you are set to have family time and you are dedicated to that family time then when the boss asks if you will work late you may have to say no I have other pans and be ok with the leader being upset that you are not sacrificing your time to help him. This is a tough on. If you set clear boundaries you can actually enhance your integrity and respect. Because people know where you are not going to bend.

Respect is a tough thing to earn. You have to give and invest in others to get that respect. It can be destroyed easily and it becomes even harder to build back up. Yet it is possible to rebuild after a disaster and if you succeed in doing so you are stronger and more resilient because of it.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.


  1. Great content bro….Keep it up

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