thoughts on ‘respect’.
respect, of course, is earned. but what is it? it’s a nebulous admiration or understanding, usually framed in a positive light.
i think respect– at least in interpersonal relationships– comes from, mostly, consistency. i respect the nice, calm, religious people on campus: because they have shown themselves to be accepting and positive.
of course, there are situational exceptions: most people, if they are taken to the Oval Office, will respect the presidential position. not all, but the position itself holds prestige that inspires respect.
some people define ‘respect’ as ‘doing what they want you to do’– this is how ‘respect’ is used in the phrase “respect your parents”. and in a sense, this too is respect learned from consistency. if you do not do what they want you to do, you will get in trouble, which could range from the unpleasant to the downright terrible.
and i wouldn’t say that an abuse victim stays with their partner out of ‘respect’– but in many cases, it does come from a place of knowing what their partner is capable of, and a gut feeling about the lengths to which their partner will go to keep them in control. which i guess would be reasonable fear.
is fear, then, the opposite of respect? i think they are two sides of the same coin, especially in older linguistics– “the fear of God”, for example…
in my relationships class, “resentment” was poison to love, leading to controlling behavior and overall a huge factor in breakups, according to studies.
respect and love.
fear and resentment.
makes for a nice little square, there.
you don’t need to like or dislike someone to respect or fear them.
you need to be closely affected by someone to truly love or resent them.