Do you ever get the feeling that others aren’t giving you the level of respect you deserve? To be sure, there are always tell-tale signs that we subconsciously pick up on and may initially dismiss as figments of our imagination. These signs could be anything from your being relegated to an inferior task by a supervisor (when you KNOW you have seniority), or by consistent off-handed remarks aimed at you by your peers.
Been there. Heard that. Ouch!
Whatever the case, the best thing for you to do is to take your hunches seriously; people probably are treating you some type of way. At this point, instead of labeling everyone a hater, now is the time for you to have some serious grown-folk talk with yourself. It is important to note that people are less resistant to change when they realize their own shortcomings, as opposed to someone else pointing them out. Plus, as you well know at this point in your life, most red-blooded adults aren’t trying to hear anyone tell them about their character flaws.
While there are a plethora of ways you can increase the respect others give you, this single solution is the foundation for all others: The #1 secret to getting the respect you deserve is to respect yourself first.
While you probably have heard this phrase before, I thought it important to share what this actually looks like in a real-life setting. About 20 years ago, I went through this phase where I noticed people were treating me disrespectfully at my home and place of work. If it weren’t so widespread, I would’ve been able to dismiss it. After much praying and soul searching, I found the primary root of the disrespect. I was harboring intense dislike for myself because I was not being a person of integrity in my personal and professional life. I was disrespecting myself by not doing the things that I knew to do. My self-loathing was then mirrored back to me in the form of how others treated me. The success principle I learned is that if I wouldn’t respect myself, then others wouldn’t respect me.
In short, you can’t demand that others respect you, when you won’t demand respect from yourself. There is no getting around this principle. Trust me, I tried.
One of the hardest parts of this process will be to humble yourself and begin introspection; this is necessary for you to identify what you might be doing to contribute to this type of treatment. The good news is that most of the character tweaks you’ll need to make are really simple ones. For example, at home, I wouldn’t consistently cut the grass. This caused my wife frustration because she would ultimately end up mowing the lawn herself. To add insult to injury, I had the audacity (and the hypocrisy) to get upset when the kids didn’t do their chores. This caused my kids frustration because they knew I wasn’t doing my own grown man chores. The simple fix was to own up to my shortcomings before my family and start cutting the grass like I knew to do. I immediately noticed the level of disrespect from my family members towards me diminished.
At work, I was shirking certain responsibilities when it came to performing some tasks because I wasn’t confident that I knew how to do them well. Although I had the job title, I didn’t put in the time daily to study and learn how to really do my job. This meant that others were picking up my slack, doing more work than they were supposed to be doing and not receiving the pay that I was. I had to acknowledge to myself that I should have done the work to be proficient at my job; moreover, that my co-workers should have been upset with me for being a slacker. I committed to a daily professional study plan of 15 minutes in the morning before work and 30 minutes during my lunch hour. Before long I confidently knew how to do all of my job duties and very happily did them myself. In a very short amount of time, I had earned the respect of my co-workers and supervisors.
If you want more respect from others, start with demanding respect from yourself. You and everyone in your sphere of influence will be glad that you did.
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