Mutual Respect

“Mutual: (of a feeling or action) experienced or done by each of two or more parties toward the other or others

Respect: due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.

Mutual respect: Understanding that we all don’t share the same beliefs and values. … For relationships to remain healthy, both partners must be equally respected and appreciated. Mutual respect is a proper-regard for the dignity of a person or position.” – Google Search

Like it or not, respect is a two-way street. Your life experience is different than mine. Therefore, it is easy to understand that we may have different perspectives on life. This difference does not imply that we are wrong. Living in the country and living in the projects requires food, clothing, and shelter. These similarities do not mean both lives are the same. They are quite different. But, you don’t need me to tell you that. We already understand how city life differs from country living.

Social media is quick to classify people. Some quizzes deem how redneck or how street smart we are. This division is where we begin to fail. We divide ourselves into groups. “Us against them” is a common theme. The division can continue until it’s me against the world. Some days it feels like that. No one understands or takes the time to care. Nope, everyone has their plan, and they are in a hurry to get it done. No one has time to stop and listen. What’s in it for me? What do I get from listening to you? We see this attitude a lot. Truth be known, there is nothing in it for you. But, there is something in it for us.

This truth is where mutual respect starts. If I listen, I may begin to understand. But, if I’m thinking of my next rebuttal while you are rambling about something… am I listening? A five-year-old child understands this concept. We need to clear our thoughts and listen to what is said and how it is said. It’s called fundamental communication. We are eager to win an argument that we are willing to shut each other down without understanding our opponents’ views. What good is talking, if we aren’t going to listen? We might as well argue whether apples are red or green.

We have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth, and yet, we talk a lot more than we look or listen. This fact is sad. Stop trying to “win” the argument. The concept of communication is to exchange thoughts and ideas. Some of us are so competitive that we feel the need to win the conversation. Our point must be unanimously accepted. This “need” is wrong. Do not make everything into a debate. Instead, I implore you to find how two opposing views can be correct. Apples can be red or green.

Find value in the thoughts and words of others. Imagine a person who only spoke with three-letter words, whose articulation of speech was less than academic, but a joy to hear. Whose observation is as simple as their speech. How sad, to be so hung on their accent, or simpleton speech that we miss the chance to see the world through their eyes.

Mutual respect is a two-way street given without the expectation of receiving it in return. Life isn’t a game or contest. We aren’t keeping body counts of who we respected. How juvenile. And yet, this is our approach to justifying our actions.” I showed respect and courtesy to everyone I met this morning. I deserve a little mean-time. After all, I am only human.” If keeping score is what we seek, then the score is our only reward.

In our journey towards finding our happiness, we should practice being perpetually positive. Or, as I like to call it, a daily professional. Life is easy. We make it difficult. Learn the extremes of mutual respect and find your median. Together we can make this a beautiful world, but it starts with us and the quality of connection given.

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