Respect is one of the most critical virtues. It goes a long way. Being respected has to be one of the most rewarding feelings. But one must earn respect; one must carry themselves out as an individual deserving of people’s respect. And that is why am a fan of the “You can hate me, but you must respect me” quote.
Because respect goes a looong way, longer than even love, longer than even hatred.
Relationships with respect last longer, work arrangements with respect bring in more profits, families with respect stay together. Respect is literally the fabric that knits individuals. And it goes both ways; you are respected if you respect.
Na that misguided notion of respect should come with age is nonsensical in my regard. The fact that someone would demand respect just by virtue of their age is misguided. We should respect any individual as long as they have earned that respect; if not then no biological fact or other predisposed factor should make them demand our respect. If a 70-year-old man behaves in degrading manners, why should they be respected? Because they are 70years old?? Because they have lived longer than you? If that would be a premise for demanding respect then they have to act their age, they have to act in a respectable manner that creates a distinction between them and someone who has been in this world shorter.
The same applies to family relations; I don’t understand how one can claim respect just because you happen to share some strands of DNA, if they don’t act in a respectable way, in a way deserving of your acknowledgement, then they are not entitled to your respect. Period!
The fact that one is rich doesn’t and should not be a mark of entitlement to respect. I get disgusted when people will call a rich man ‘mkubwa’ or some other ‘respect’ dawning word just by virtue of the car they drive, or the clothes they are wearing. That should not be the indicator of someone deserving of respect. Does this person respect others? Do they have admirable virtues? Do they carry themselves out in an admirable manner? If yes, then go ahead and call them ‘Mkubwa’ times 10.
And of course, my feminist self would not let me just avoid twisting this to the female perspective; which is right as for us, being the subjugated and ‘second class’ members of our society means that we have to work twice as hard as our male counterparts to earn not just their respect, but even respect from our fellow females. How we as females earn respect in our societies is moulded and shaped by different underlying factors; most of which are gendered and dictated to us either by religion or the patriarchy. But for me, I would like this to change; let us be the ones who set our own standards of a lady worth of respect. If for you, abiding by the religious standards of respect works best then go ahead use those standards. If for you, reinventing your own standards works best for you, then by all means go ahead and do just that. Be the dictator of your own measure of respectful standards; and once you have established them, embrace them proudly, with your head held high. Don’t let the patriarchy bully you into its notions of what a respectable woman is…don’t! Dictate who you want to be, dictate how you want to be respected; dictate your own life and take full charge of it!