Respect is incredibly important to Men: in our worst moments we measure our worth as human beings by the respect we receive. In our best, respect is a resource we can use to help ourselves, our friends, and our families become happier, healthier and more secure. Without it, we have a hard time feeling loved or wanted.
Respect is not something you are just given. You are not due Respect just for the achievement of drawing air. You have to earn it. Respect comes through actions: people see acts that reflect a person of strong character and charisma, and they admire it. They respond to it with trust, closeness, and honesty.
A lot of people have learned very ineffective ways of earning Respect. They seem to believe that bullying, intimidation, bad behaviour, and acting with entitlement will somehow bring respect. In truth it does the opposite. People might give a spoiled brat what they want in the short term just to be rid of them, but they will see them as untrustworthy children, and in time, cut them out of their lives.
Likewise, people often mistake status with respect. Fashionable clothes, money, beauty, power, or fame over others do not automatically entitle you with respect. Having those things make it easier to gain Respect if you use them well. If you do not, then at best they can get you a few different forms of fear or lust, which might get you what you want, until people have the choice to avoid you.
Here I am going to offer a few things you can do that, done well, commands the respect of others.
Respect Yourself, First
Many people have little respect for themselves. They do not hold themselves in high regard, and accordingly do whatever they are told or feel pressured to do, even when it makes them unhappy or is bad for them.
When you respect yourself enough to have the courage to say “no” when people want more from you that you are willing to give, people will accept that you have boundaries. Contrary to our common belief, most people understand when you say “no” and will not be hurt by it.
When you respect yourself enough to refuse to be pressured, people see you as being stronger than the group. Most people see strength when you refuse to follow the group; there are very few people who will call you a “stick in the mud”, unless they have an ulterior motive or you do so in a way that hurts their feelings.
When you buck a self-destructive trend, you will be happier and healthier for it, and people will understand that you care about yourself – because you are worth caring about. Conversely, a person who does all sorts of things to harm themselves because it is “fun” or popular is hard to care about.
Work on Developing Character
The Ancient philosophers didn’t believe that behaving well meant that you were a good person. Ethics and morals to our ancestors wasn’t just about choosing good acts: it was about being a person with inner strength and excellence. They based their ethics on doing what reflected a good Character.
Character is my ultimate focus in The Wild Man Project. I want to help men develop a character that will make them happier, more directed, and emotionally stronger. This is why I write so much about Integrity, Temperance, and Leadership. Because these are all powerful elements in a good Character for a man. If I wanted to give you some absolutely basic advice about building character it would be these:
- Try to see things as challenges rather than obstacles.
- Understand what your strengths are and work on making them shine.
- Pick a career that plays to your strengths and devote energy to being excellent in it.
- Hone your health, time management, and communication skills so that nothing slows that career down.
- Acknowledge that you control how events affect you, so nothing is good or bad until you make it so.
- Accordingly, choose an attitude that helps you to be happy rather than to be miserable.
- Have a mission: choose a way you want to make the world a better place and chase it relentlessly.
- Learn to bring Creativity into everything you do.
- Find passion and energy.
- Refuse to let Fear hold you back.
Those few things, lead to all other kinds of changes and developments to your character. They help you build ambition and joy, along with a sense of fair play and honour.
When you focus on your character you are focusing on enriching the very things we choose to respect in people: trustworthiness, strength, calm, happiness, community involvement, and direction.
Carry Yourself with Dignity
Being Respectable means, among other things, making sure you create good impressions with the people you would like to respect you. There are many different parts to this, but they all boil down to a basic principle: “if you want to be Respected, show that you respect yourself and others by looking and acting the part.”
This means taking care of your appearance, dressing appropriate to the company you are in, cultivating good manners, dealing with other people in a mature and adult manner. Knowing how to stand up straight and give a powerful and memorable handshake are a part of that.
I believe learning Assertive is a powerful part of that. I think I will very soon write an Assertiveness 101 entry, because of how hard it is to get good resources on Assertiveness. In fact, it is so important, that many Universities offer courses on it as part of Communications degrees.
Western culture has always had a wonderful code of mature and respectful behaviour. We have formalized ways of sharing company (etiquette), differences of opinion (debate), meals (dining etiquette), love and sex (courtly romance), and even our thoughts in written form (literary convention).
Somewhere along the lines, however, we decided that all of these rules were somehow destroying the choices we made in our life. That rudeness and childishness were somehow synonymous with being freer and happier. In its extreme, this current in our society tells us that we have every right to do as we please, without caring at all for how other people feel or think.
There is something to that, with several very big conditions: if we constantly assume or worry about what other people think and feel about us, we end up being afraid to do the things we want. Or worse, we take our own self-doubt and project it onto other people, which makes the world seem a dark and terrible place full of people who don’t like us. It also makes it very easy to forget that we can’t know other people’s minds, and assuming we do leads to a lot of problems.
That being said, formality, respectful behaviour, and good manners are still important to our culture. Even those of us who were raised in the cynical, self-serving years of the 80s and 90s still respond to those good manners – sometimes in spite of ourselves. When someone shakes your hand, uses a formal title to address you, you feel respected. We like being treated in that manner.
And that is the real point. When we behave with good grace and fine etiquette we make people feel respected, and they always reflect that back on us. Disrespect does the same thing: when someone behaves like a selfish brat, they are showing us disrespect, and we lose any we might have had for them.
This also means understanding that in certain environments, like work and school, their is a hierarchy. You can always expect a basic level of dignity, but realize that Respect doesn’t flow equally. The people above you on the ladder expect you show them deference and greater Respect than people on the same rung as yourself. You also can’t expect everyone in the hierarchy to treat you with the highest Respects until you earn them.
Jettison Toxic People
The people we keep company with reflect on us for a good reason. However strong-willed we might think we are, we unconsciously pick up the values and attitudes of the people we interact with. We can lose sight of our goals and our self-respect if we spend too much time around toxic companions. Also keep in mind that people who are always disrespectful around you really don’t respect you. That means that they are willing to take advantage of you in subtle or not-so-subtle ways.
The best thing you can do to ensure you get Respect and keep respecting yourself is to break off relationships with people who treat you and those around you with genuine disrespect.
Keep Your Cool
When things start getting difficult and stressful it is easy to lose your head and either run away, or panic and behave in ways that doesn’t help the situation. This is especially true if you are emotionally attached to the situation.
When it comes right down to it, Respect is a way we behave to someone we believe we can trust and that we admire. When we give genuine respect we say: “I believe in you: I expect you to make the decisions that you think are best for all involved in a rational manner. Even if I don’t agree with hat decisions, I have faith that you meant well by it; I won’t treat you as lesser for making it.”
If you behave in an over-emotional, entitled, childish, or just plain crazy manner in a rough spot, you prove that people can’t trust your decisions, because you don’t make them in a rational and even-handed manner. Maturity, deliberation, and calm exemplify everything we want to see in a person we respect.
Always push yourself to develop further and accomplish more. An open, active, and curious mind is one of the most appealing things one can see in another human being. The more knowledge and the broader interests we have the more people can see our value and passions – and the more they can count on us in a range of situations.
One other thing to keep in mind about Respect regarding Men in particular: there is no greater aphrodisiac than Respect. For Men, being Respected makes us feel needed and wanted. It is one of the tree conditions we need to form a lasting, loving bond. For Women, the inner strength, assertiveness, courage, dignity, and self-possessed aura of a man who commands Respect are some of the sexiest qualities in the world.