Respecting people has a very wide connotation. Somehow it has
become confined to showing regard to elders. This obviously is
a given and one must give due regard to one’s elders.
However, respect must be understood in its widest connotation.
As such, it means respecting every human being. In fact,
animals and plants also deserve regard. These latter
life-forms perhaps need extra respect because they are unable
to defend and demand their rights.
Showing respect to every human being refers to a number of
Firstly, we must respect a person regardless of his political,
religious or social views. All human beings are created equal
as the progeny of Adam and Eve and they must not be
differentiated between in this capacity. Every person has been
given this right by God to profess to views that he deems
correct. No one has the right to impose his views on another
person. If we are able to exercise such respect tolerance and
peaceful co-existence we will the see fruits of this labour –
something so dreadfully absent these days.
Secondly, we must respect the privacy of people especially
those close to us whether they are our family, friends,
colleagues and particularly our spouses and children. Every
person has a certain set of habits and traits which we may not
always like. We must remember that just as we ourselves would
not like anyone to interfere in our privacy, we must always do
the same as well. No two human beings are alike and as such
have the right to possess personality traits peculiar to him.
Thirdly, we must respect our rivals as well. People who have
been unjust or harsh to us, deserve more respect from us as
this might make them realize their folly. We must not abhor
people; it is their habits that we should abhor.
Fourthly, respect should also be expressed in absentia of a
person whenever his or her mention is brought up. It is
against dignity and in fact outright hypocrisy if we are
respectful to a person in his presence, and exhale disrespect
on him when he is not present. This will be in accordance with
sincerity and truthfulness as well.
Fifthly, not only our words should reflect respect for others,
our countenance, gestures and mannerism should also be in line
with this. At times, our body language is not very welcoming
and respectful. We must be cautious in this and keep it in
Finally, we should always remember that respect is commanded
and not demanded. People command respect if they have an
impeccable character and unrelenting dignity. We should never
force people to respect us. What good is earning such respect?
It must be spontaneous and from the heart of people. We have
to prove ourselves worthy of it.