RESPECT (I’m Actually Going to Tell You What it Means to Me)

I am neurotically careful about the opinions I share with others. To clarify further, I don’t even really like sharing my opinions with others. This is not because I am opinion-less; to be honest, I actually consider myself a pretty strongly opinionated person. This tends to confuse people.

Wait… you’re “pretty strongly opinionated”?! We’ve never fought about our beliefs! You haven’t told me that you disagree with me! Your silence must mean that you comply with me and that I am right!!

Right?

No.

Here’s the thing: I might have a significantly different belief than you, but I will respect you regardless of whatever it is you believe. Did that sink in?

I WILL RESPECT YOU REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR OPINIONS AND BELIEFS ARE.

So often, within the first five seconds of discovering that someone does not share their “obviously correct” opinion, Person 1 will start tearing Person 2 apart. Instantly, Person 2 becomes the stupidest person on the planet, and everything they say from now on is completely irrelevant and worthless because of that one opinion Person 1 does not agree with.

Oh, Person 1! Oh, Humanity!

Now, I get it. Respect does not always mean being silent (perhaps, being somewhat of a timid person, I use respect as an excuse to avoid confrontation), but it does, I think, mean that you hear everything another person has to say before speaking.

Don’t cut people off before they have finished making their point.

Don’t damn them because they think differently than you.

Be open to the idea that there may be other perspectives than yours. Everyone believes what they believe for a reason. You might not agree with them, and that is OKAY. Acceptance is a two way street.

Don’t judge.

Because, really, who even has the ability to comprehend what does and does not deserve judgement besides that being we call God?

(Don’t get me wrong. I believe there are definitely big issues that need a voice of reason and sanity to make clear that some systems of this world suck. But (A) let’s leave those decisions to people who actually know what they are talking about, and (B) this post isn’t necessarily about those big issues, but more about everyday living in community and harmony with other human beings. Yes.)

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