Respect is usually understood as a courteous regard for the feelings of others. A sense of admiration for someone, admiring the act of someone or something, or conduct representative of that esteem where you regard someone in a higher sense. It is denoted as a positive feeling of deference for an entity or a person. It is something that cannot be accorded. It can be out of mutual understanding or one-sided. It is also an integral part of ethics and professionalism; an expression of gratitude.
Respecting a person is to value that person’s ideas, feelings, space, privacy etc. For example, you respect yourself by staying in control of yourself. The gestures of respect vary from tradition to tradition, religion to religion, country to country, and person to person. Some believe that respect is something that you earn, not give. Whereas other consider it to be a sense of mutual admiration. But the principle aspect remains the same.
Respect is not attire, it is genuine feeling shown towards an entity or a living thing. It is irksome to not respect at all and profane to respect simply because you are expected do so. It taints the very idea of something that is believed sacred, precious, and beautiful. It is not something that you demand, but something that is developed for every other being. It is correctly said that respect is not a mere freebie which is given to everyone. But the very nature of one’s existence shouldn’t be forgotten. Respect is not for the sake of respecting but for the genuine. It is an idea of sacred and beautiful personalities. And sacred we all are!
A person can show respect in a form of casual behaviour or in a manner of one’s uniqueness. “I respect you because you are older than me.” This is not a deference because one is older, but admiration of the fact that she/he has more experience. We show respect towards our guests (“atithi devo bhavah- Guests are equivalent to God“), not because they are holding us on a gunpoint, but to make them feel welcomed.
You can respect a person for his unique skills, while the person may still be termed as uncharacteristic. It can be mutual, one-sided, genuine, generated, trained, mannerism or not be at all. For example, she/he is part of the family and must be respected, if she/he is a stranger than also he must be respected. It might be your idea of respecting a woman, or your idea of respectful policing.
Yet. it does not matter if one is a smoker or a drunkard or has a messed up life. It does not matter that he is rude or uncouth. It does not matter if he disrespects you. Respecting is not treating people the way they treat you. It is a priceless aspect that is full of value. The fact that it exists is enough to respect it. Although, one cannot be forced to respect each other, but accepting one’s existence is enough to generate it.
Just because respecting people carries no price, does not mean that it has no value.
Sometimes it’s all about respecting for the sake of respect.
Sometimes it’s respecting the very idea of respect.
Sometimes, respect is what you give, not what you demand or ask for.