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Respecting Human Beings
Social Issues
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

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 aspects:

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 check.

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.



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