What Is Respect?

· October 31, 2015

Respect is an attitude that develops through mature and mutually enriching interpersonal relationships. Moreover, respect is the attitude of accepting others’ differences; you need respect in order to coexist with others without conflict. 

To respect someone is to put aside our differences. It helps us avoid judging others for their individual choices and opinions.

To respect someone is to be aware of a person’s individuality, and not to demand that they change their opinions or behaviors.

Respectful people realize that everyone has the right to choose to be who they really are. And if everyone is free to be who they want to be, no one else has the right or responsibility pass judgment or decide anything about another.


You show respect when you do not judge someone for their lifestyle or the way they approach a situation, make decisions, or behave. You further show respect for someone when you do not complain about the way they are, or expect them to be any other way.

Respect is the best way to show others that we accept them in all of their individuality the way they are and not otherwise.

How to express respect

Respect is communicated through empathy. That is, through an attitude that shows them that we know, accept, and respect how they are, even if we do not necessarily agree with their opinions, behaviors, or decisions.

Empathy is a tool that we use for communication; we use empathy when we listen to others and communicate that we see where they are coming from and have an understanding of their feelings and thoughts.

This is how we express comprehension and understanding toward someone and, when appropriate, share our own opinions in a way that is respectful of others.

If we always feel the need to be right or we assume that our approach or position is the only valid one, we will inevitably have a hard time showing others respect. Therefore, in order to respect others we need to focus on the following:

  • We all need to consider our personal approach to everything as only one of the many possible approaches.
  • We need to speak in the first person, expressing our individual point of view as just that instead of some kind of absolute truth.
  • We need to accept that our perceptions, while seeming objective, are anything but – our perceptions are entirely subjective to our own interpretation of things, which is based in previous experiences, current mood, and preordained beliefs.
  • And when we address others, we need to do it from a place of empathy, which includes listening and observing the other person’s personal approach. Thus we show our acceptance of their right to be as they choose to be.