It’s something sports fans know and something those in power should quickly learn—having ones enemies’ respect is a lot safer than having their fear or anger.
Many is the historic incidence of pre-game trash-talk leading to a big fail come the final whistle.
People (and teams) (and nations) who feel disrespected tend to get angry. And energized. And defiant.
And people and teams and nations that are afraid, fall back on the most basic of instincts—fight or flight. Very often it is fight. Just scare a fellow driver with a driving error and see how quickly that fear escalates into rage.
We don’t tend to wish harm on those we respect, but we do on those we fear. We tend to be open to communication, to exchanges of ideas with those we respect, whether or not we like them. We’re not open to any kind of relationship with those we fear, or those who don’t respect us.
They say one has to earn respect but they don’t explain how. However, it’s really, really easy. Just giving respect, being respectful, elicits respect in return.
Disrespectfully calling someone a son of a bitch for disrespecting, say the flag, hardly elicits any feelings of respect in return. Calling the leader of a nuclear nation a little rocket man, elicits no respect. Probably no fear, either. Definitely doesn’t foster any sense of cooperation.
A nation that respects another’s military might would likely not willingly launch an attack against it.
We all need to find some really great words to show respect for others—for Muslims, Blacks, gun-owners, Republicans, Democrats...
Police officers, protesters, mayors of ravaged cities. Mexicans.
Leaders of foreign nations. Street cleaners. The homeless and those without hope. The successful, the artistic, the autistic. Those who love differently than we do.
We can have widely differing thoughts and feelings, behaviours and opinions and still live peaceably—if we curry respect.
Imagine the power I'd possess if everyone in the world respected me.
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