Do people need to earn your respect?
Some people do believe that it is necessary to prove yourself worthy of respect before someone should grant you respect. What's the problem with that? When we put ourselves into the position of judge we also open the door wider to being judged.
Can people tell when you respect them? Undoubtably. We seem to have an inner radar that differentiates respect from disrespect -- or worse, disregard. We can tell, and we care. Deeply.
Whatever a person has done in the past that we might question, it is still possible to treat them with respect. Kindness, compassion, even love know no limits.
Respecting someone does not mean that you agree with everything that they've ever done -- or even with what they are doing or saying right now. Respect means that you treat them with human dignity, fairness, compassion, and honor.
I know that it can be tough to show respect in the heat of an argument or when someone is not acting in a likable manner. It can be tough to respect someone who irritates the crap out of you. Hey...respect them anyway.
I will do my best. How about you?
-- doug smith