It’s a construct that gets mentioned a lot without a thought of what it really means.
As I’ve been thinking about it this week I’d define respect as modifying ones behaviour to acknowledge the priorities of someone else.
That’s wordy. So for example: Luke is a vegetarian and won’t eat deep fried food that’s been fried in the same oil as a meat product. I think that’s a pretty strict reaction, way stricter than I would be if I were a vegetarian. And yet when I was making pizza I asked him if he was okay eating pizza that was half meat half veggie. Because I thought about his level of concern and extrapolated it, knew that I didn’t know enough guess, and so I asked.
So that’s the moment that got me thinking about respect and it dovetails with the post I’ve been forming in my head about gaslighting.
If, in my example, I hadn’t asked Luke about the pizza and he wasn’t okay with it, and I had then implied that he should be okay with it because in his shoes I feel I would be then that would be similar gaslighting.
This happens to depressed people all the time.
I feel that I’m constantly telling people I’m upset and they very nicely say you shouldn’t be. I say things aren’t okay and I’m told yes they are, don’t feel sad because I don’t feel sad about those same things.
I’ve been told throughout my life that I make very sudden exits, which never feels true to me. I tell people for months and months on end that I’m not happy and rather than respect what I’m saying they try to convince me things are fine because of how they see them.
Now to flip this and go on with my usual self-loathing. I’m often afraid that I simply hate being disagreed with.
I value integrity, I’m exclusive with the respect I give and aspire to earn the respect I receive. And this means that my self-value is pretty high because I create the standard for the way I think a good person acts and I follow them.
This also means I’m self-justifying and crazy.
Because of course I think I’m right. Only falsely humble assholes pretend they’re unsure about their convictions.
So it’s rare that I respect someone enough to honour their opinion on me. And yet I’m desperate for objectivity. If I’m wrong I’d love to have someone tell me I’m wrong but what happens in reality is people assume in any conflict that both people are wrong. Everyone takes a pathetic middle ground non-stance.
What it comes down to, to tie this all together, I respect irrational people. Your average person, for example, criticizes vegans because veganism is irrational and they don’t believe in it. Whereas I admire people who don’t compromise, who will hold onto their chosen integrity no matter what’s easy or popular.
With all that said I want to be careful not to correlate being disrespected and being disagreed with. I enjoy when people disagree with me, it gives me chance to speak all the overthought points I have on any given topic that rattle around my head all day. And if the person I’m talking to also makes great points then it gives me new things to roll around my under-stimulated brain. It’s been said that I get angry when I discuss things but the truth is I’m only getting excited.
And of course there’s a caveat there too that if I lay out a lot of great discussion and someone just keeps repeating their original statement that feels a bit disrespectful. If in an argument you hear the phrase “yes, but” a lot it means you’re being condescended to. The person just wants to sound amiable by starting with false positivity.
When it comes to respecting someone’s opinion that’s where so much bullshit comes into the conversation. I’ve ranted about the cult of subjectivity before. And I don’t just mean religion and so forth, we all know respecting stupid ideologies makes the whole world worse, I mean in regular conversation. It should be okay to punch someone who says “You can’t say an opinion is wrong.”
This is shifting away from the launch point of Respect so I’ll end it and promise to write a post about the differences between Opinion, Belief, and Conclusion.