“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is known as the "Golden Rule”.
Most of us have heard this saying over the years but are we still practicing it? In this time of uncertainty, are we taking a temperature check to make sure we are still following the golden rule? It might be a simple message but warrants a moment to reflect on how we are respecting others.
Throughout our life, we enter into many relationships. It begins with being someone’s child. It can then take many forms: sibling, niece or nephew, student, co-worker, friend, relative, spouse, parent, client and the list goes on and on. The most consistent and crucial aspect of maintaining these relationships, is to be respectful. There are tons of quotes out there regarding respect, but one in particular hits home with me.
“Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it; you’ve got to give it.” R.G. Risch
In a personal or work environment, it has become increasingly important to treat others respectfully in order to further that relationship. Let us talk about the simple things we can do to be mindful of our own actions.
Listen first, speak last – Always, always, always allow people to say what they think and feel before speaking. It is a sign of respect to let someone have the floor. Many times, people just need a forum, so let them talk. You do not always have to add to the conversation with a solution. Respect that they are capable of making their own decisions and wait for their opening to add your own commentary. We have all heard that being a good listener is so important, but do we actually do it? We all need to reflect on what Diogenes said, "We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less."
Do not go up the ladder – Sometimes a conversation can take a negative turn. Do not react. Do whatever techniques you can learn to get through the anger. If you respond immediately, you will probably not end up being respectful to that relationship. It just will not happen. Many times waiting will allow the speaker to say something that can turn the messaging back to a respective tone. Also remember once respect is lost, it is an impossible journey to regain it with someone. I do the old tried and true method, which is to step away until I can react respectfully.
Use your words…carefully – Be sure to slow down when engaging with someone and think through the words you are using. Respect is all about how you make someone feel. Take the time to frame your words so that the messaging is clear, concise and positive. We all know that words like “you” as opposed to “I” do not represent a respectful intent. Alter the conversation from “You don’t listen to me” to “I feel that you don’t listen to me. Words can be dangerous as once spoken, they create a feeling. How one is made to feel, is what one remembers, not the actual words. How many times have we spoken to someone we have a relationship with and they begin the conversation with…”last month you made me mad.” If you can keep the conversation respectful, there will not be the need to bring it up again in a month as an unresolved issue.
Be Nice – Wow such a simply message but so powerful. Don’t we all love and respect the relationships we have had where the person is just nice. I personally respect nice people. Talk to everyone as if you are in a relationship with him or her. Never represent yourself as better than anyone. As Henry James said “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” Who wouldn’t respect someone who is just nice?
Put a smile on your face – whether you realize it or not, your face tells a story. Even in the current environment with masking covering your lips, if you are smiling your eyes are showing it. It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile. Although there is some controversy whether this an accurate depiction of how many less muscles are used in a smile, who cares? Just smile! It will make you and everyone else feel better and respected.