What Does the Word Respect Mean?


The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield always complained that he never got any respect. So what does the word “respect” mean?

I have had the privilege over the last ten months to be a regular speaker for Respect Institute, which was founded for the express purpose of slaying the dragons of mental illness. Last Friday, I spoke at the hospital on Arsenal Street in Saint Louis on the topic of Respect. Not knowing that Joel Slack has his own anachronism for Respect, I created my own. I based my talk on a word starting with each letter in the word “respect.”

resilience: Friends, families, support groups, can all rally round and provide us with the tools for resilience. We all experience challenges in our lives. If anyone tells me they have had a charmed life, I will ask them which planet they live on. No one has a life free of adversity. The gift of resilience helps us to navigate those times.

Empathy: When I walked into Caroline Penberthy’s office over twenty years ago, I immediately saw her concern for me as she looked at my 95 pound frame. The gift of empathy allows us to step into the shoes of another and to experience their reality.

Support: We all need to be girded by a strong shoulder to cry on, by consistent mentoring and instruction, and by the gift of strength building words. Bridges collapse without good engineering. Airplanes would drop out of the sky without firm construction. And failure comes to many when we do not feel strength coming from friends, family, and community

Purpose: In Respect Institute, we try to help those with mental illnesses build a life purpose. I think this should be a critical part of all relationships. When we respect one another we help build, sustain, and promote purpose filled living.

Encouragement: We respect one another when we offer words that uplift and inspire. In my music studio I consistently strive to exhort and to build self esteem.

Caring: When we care for one another, we respect each other’s need for nurturing. Consider doing meals on wheels. Give to charitable causes. Tithe to your church. These are all ways to care and to respect the needs of others.

Thoughtfulness: When I was preparing for my talk, I had trouble coming up with a T word. I ultimately settled on “think.” I encouraged listeners to think about the enormous contributions of Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven, and George Friederich Haendel. However, I really prefer the word “thoughtfulness.” Considering the needs of others is an essential part of living in respect for self and for others. How can you live a life of respect for yourself and for others?

From Barbara Altman, author, presenter, and motivational speaker. For speaking engagements, feel free to contact me at AltmanB@sbcglobal.net or at 314-962-5324.

If you know of someone who wants to build a happy, success filled life or if someone you know is suffering from major depression, showing signs of depression, is manic depressive, or is looking for how to deal with depression please subscribe to Barb’s blog. She has advice on such topics as, coping with depression, teen depression, anxiety and depression, depression in children,  and other types of depression disorders. You can visit her website at http://www.depressiontorecovery.com/


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