You gotta love a woman who spells it all out in her music. Aretha Franklin did not actually write this tune, yet she made it her own. How could a month of blog posts featuring female song writers NOT include this tune? Otis Redding wrote it in 1967 then Aretha performed it and has ‘owned’ it ever since. In this conversation with her man, she tells him how much R-E-S-P-E-C-T will do for her. I hope he listened.
“I respect your opinion.” VERY powerful words. People give their opinion too often, and most of the time when it is not sought. Free advice is worth the price paid for it, and so is a respected opinion. Respect is earned through fire and rain, sun and snow. When someone has respect people want to listen. They want to know what this cherish voice has to include in the discussion.
Some people say respect comes with a title – Coach, Boss, CEO, Parent, Spouse, Teacher. And it is true that those roles imply a certain level of respect. It comes with the territory. The challenge is that respect for the title is not the same as respect for the person. When the person in that role behaves in such a way that demeans, degrades, is unprofessional or even humiliating to themselves or those that rely on them, the respect that went with the title is gone. Our behavior has the power to remove all title earned respect.
It is the little things that make people respect us. It is our consistent behavior, attitude, actions over a long period of time that cement how people think about us. When we mess up once, people can forgive. When we mess up twice, people begin to think. When we mess up and do not apologize or take responsibility for our behavior then people realize we are not the person they thought we were and R-E-S-P-E-C-T goes right out the window. There is nothing more awful in a relationship than the loss of respect and not knowing it is gone. It is painful to experience and live with and often goes unspoken as respect is a hard thing to define. But we know when respect is gone as well as when it is earned. It is a double edged sword that builds or breaks down the best of people.
How do you know when you are respected? People listen and value your words. Not out of fear or obligation, submission or money. People seek out your thoughts and your words help them become a better version of themselves. Hopefully you have people in your life that you respect and that respect you. The key is just what Aretha sings…find out what it means to me. Then live it out on a daily basis. Time will tell so use your time wisely.