• janellegsheen

Three Not Four Types of Respect:

Updated: Nov 27, 2019


There are three different types of respect. Some people believe in a fourth, but they are wrong, the fourth is not respect, it is the epitome of disrespect.


There is Respect whereby we pay attention to and respond appropriately to needs in order to nourish and empower. This Respect encourages mutuality and trust; it is the bases for cooperation and growth. This respect is a basic human right, we all matter. We all deserve this respect.


Then there is respect that is associated to a role. There are two forms of role-based respect.

First we may respect for someone’s achievement. When someone is skilled at an activity we may admire and respected them because of the high quality performance. Sometimes we respect them because of the amount of effort they put in to develop their skill. This respect is earnt.


Consider an athletic that is admired and respected as a result of the many many hours they have put in. Not only do they practice their sport well they also do so with an amazing level of grace, generally making it look easy. At work, our supervisors receive respect from us when they role model the role responsibilities and values with clarity and grace. Further when they are knowledgeable and open with that knowledge they inspire and empower us to do our tasks well. This is respect earnt.


The second role-based form of respect is for the role itself and the associated responsibilities and power of the role. This third form of respect is due to the acknowledgement of the responsibilities and or power of the role. This is respect by association and is not for the individual them self.


It involves force, coercion and inspires conflicts. This is not respect. It is disrespect.


It is wise to respect the role’s power; all forms of power really, as the use of power impacts our reality. Responsibility for the impact of the power is part of the responsibilities of the role. These responsibilities are primarily in regard to care for and empowering, those lower in the hierarchy, in one way or another. It is the performance of those responsibilities that can inspire the first of the two role-based forms of respect and can be given to an individual.


Where an individual who has a more powerful role, confuses their responsibility with the idea that they have a right to tell others what they have to do they are attempting to control them. This causes a lot of distress. This practice is not respect. It involves force, coercion and inspires conflicts. This is not respect. It is disrespect.

By Jean Wimmerlin Unsplashed

Disrespect happens when anyone believes they are ‘better than’ others and have a ‘right’ to order them about. Perhaps their ego or insecurities are out of hand. However the ‘why’ they are disrespectful doesn’t matter. Everyone desires and deserves to be respected. An attempt to force your views, rights and desires onto another is not an effective way to obtain respect.


Respect is a gift; it is the gift of attention, the gifts of caring, empowering and recognising that everyone matters. Respect can be a gift of admiration for a task well done, or effort put in. Respect of power a wise consideration, because of its ability to impact on reality.


Disrespect occurs when the gifts of attention and admiration are forgotten or neglected. Disrespect occurs when disregard, manipulation, accusations, intimidation and punishment are used to force ones own agenda over others’ rights.


Some people consider the misuse of power their ‘right’ when in fact it is the epitome of disrespect, as it treats people as tools. It is a process of objectification indicating others mean little or nothing in their own right. People who misuse power are rarely admired or inspire. As a rule they instil fear, resentment and distrust.


I choose respect over disrespect. How about you?

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