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Please enjoy Mrs Tottman's Thought for the Term

Posted on: 24/02/2023

Respect is a word that is used a lot in schools. Showing respect. Earning respect. Having respect. But what does it mean to respect and why is it so important?

I do not agree that respect needs to be earned, as this implies that you are going to be defensive, discourteous and hostile until someone convinces you not to be. What a negative place to start a relationship! Treating everyone we meet with respect is a sign of manners, self-confidence and a secure moral compass. Respect should be our default setting, not something we choose to “switch-on” after someone earns this from us.

That being said, respect is easy to lose. Rudeness, hypocrisy, unreliability can make respect challenging. Sadly, human beings are fallible. We have good days and bad days; the goings-on of life may mean we make mistakes and treat those we love and care about badly. My advice would be it’s time to take a view about a relationship in the face of repeated disrespect from another. Respect is a give-and-take emotion. Struggling to respect another, may actually be a sign they are disrespecting you.

However, the only person whose behaviour you are fully in control of is your own. So, take the moral high-ground. Be kind, be empathetic, be mannerly but do not allow yourself to be treated badly by others. Stand up for what is right and ask for help in the face of repeated disrespect. We disrespect ourselves by allowing others to bully and abuse us.

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