Everyone knows what respect feels like, but each of us has a different perspective on its meaning.
Some say that respect can be defined in the situation where someone is superior to you in some form or another, and you feel that what they do is above your powers, be it education, speech, possessions, aspect or skills.
Others say that respect is something to be earned and, until that moment comes, they feel compelled to disrespect or generally treat others with superiority.
Some say that respect is defined by the expression “live and let live”, and by that they mean they treat everyone equally, be it people or other forms of life.
Others even believe that respect is a form of love.
No matter what everyone thinks of respect, almost everyone believes that it is something positive.
My opinion on respect is a little different from the general perspective, as I look at it only through the spectrum of feelings it generates. For me, respect has more of a tendency to be negative than positive, and I will try to explain why.
Let’s say you respect somebody for what they do, for example a pilot, or an astronaut. How do you feel the respect for that person, when you’re neither a pilot, nor an astronaut?
Don’t you feel like that person does something exceptional, way beyond you capabilities? Doesn’t it feel like you are in a different category, much lower than that person is?
Don’t you feel distanced by that person, that feeling of distance being emphasized by that difference in each one’s capabilities? Of course you do.
Also, there’s another side to respect, and that is: fear. When for example you feel respect for your superior, or boss, doesn’t that almost always translate in “fear”? It’s because you feel that that person has some power over you and can change your life in some form or another.
Respect can also be translated in “power”, and that is the explanation why we feel drawn to the people we respect. We want to be around them, because they emanate that power which all of us feel attracted to. Even if we feel the gap between us and the people we respect, we still want to be close to them, the closer the better.
In my opinion, there is a huge gap between respect and love. I’d rather like or love somebody, than respect them.
When I feel respect for somebody, I feel distanced from that person and powerless to do that that person does. However, when I feel love for that person, I feel close to them and confident that, if they do with ease something that I’m not good at, in time I will match that person’s skill if I want to.
Not to mention that, when that person feels the love you have for them, they feel compelled to help you reach your goals by sharing their power with you, and that will propel you forward, faster than you ever felt possible.
Therefore, I believe that respect means, however you want to turn it, distance, lack of power and sometimes a measure of fear. When you respect somebody, you give some of your power to that person, until you feel powerless to do what they do, to be who they are, to have what they have.
If you want to be like a person you respect, refrain from feeling that and replace it with love. You will have a completely new perspective on that person; you will feel their equal, capable and powerful.