What I’m going to say here will probably be unpopular among the millennial/social justice howler monkey/progressive set, but I need to say it.
You do not deserve respect.
Yeah, there. I said. You. Do. Not. Deserve. Respect.
But let me explain.
Respect is not an automatic thing. Reverence, honor, and admiration are not and should not be merely given to someone as an entitlement for doing nothing.
I think in the past couple of decades (maybe more, maybe less, not sure) we’ve begun to pervert the meaning of the word “respect,” and begun to conflate it with courtesy and civility. Even today’s online dictionaries have “respect” as a synonym for “courtesy.”
I would respectfully (SWIDT?) disagree.
Respect is much more than common decency we should all afford to our fellow human beings. It’s admiration. It’s honor. It’s something that’s earned, rather than an entitlement simply given because you live and breathe.
You do not deserve respect for merely showing up.
You do not deserve respect for doing merely what you’re supposed to, even though so many these days don’t even go that far. But just because the bar is low, doesn’t mean my bar will be lowered to match it.
You do not deserve respect for merely existing.
You do not deserve respect for having more melanin in your skin than I do, for having different plumbing, for inventing a new, never before-seen gender/species despite your plumbing, or for worshiping a different sky elf than everyone else.
You do not deserve respect for your disabilities, vulnerabilities, or inabilities. Your oozing sores are not to be kissed; they are to be overcome. And your mediocrity is not to be revered it is to be recognized for what it is: mediocrity.
Yes, you deserve common courtesy. Yes, you are to be treated like a human being. No, you are not to be deprived of opportunities to do the work you are qualified and willing to do merely because of your race, skin color, religious beliefs, plumbing, or disability. You are not to be belittled or denigrated because of those traits, but you are not to be afforded special treatment because of them either.
Be the best qualified for the opportunity, and you will get it.
Do the job superlatively despite opposition, competition, and obstructions, and you will earn respect.
Overcome your challenges, disabilities, and disadvantages to be the best at what you do, and you will earn respect.
Do extra work, put in extra effort, study, go the extra mile, improve yourself and succeed, and you will earn respect.
Notice I said “earn.” Earning is an action. It requires some kind of positive process. It requires you to put in an effort. Sure, if you show up and do the work you were hired to do, you will earn a paycheck. That’s a value for value exchange agreed to by both you and your employer when you were hired. You do the work, and you get paid. That’s how it works. But that’s all you will earn.
But no one promised you respect. I guarantee that unless you work for some proglodyte who does not understand the value of and has no appreciation for his or her own enterprise, a promised paycheck and benefits is all you can expect for an honest day’s work. Because giving you unearned honors merely for existing cheapens that enterprise, and it’s a spit in the face of every individual who struggles and agonizes to achieve and succeed.
Respect comes with extra effort.
Respect comes with innovation and a willingness to go above and beyond.
Respect comes when you overcome the challenges you face to create something brilliant, original, and unique.
Respect comes when you stay until the work is done, not until the clock strikes 5 pm.
Respect comes when you go out of your way to help others, to share your expertise, to listen when others offer theirs and absorb and incorporate said expertise into your work.
Respect comes when you refuse to make excuses about your perceived lack of privilege and just do a superior job at whatever task you undertake.
Respect comes when you are honest about your shortcomings and you make every possible effort to overcome them, and when you acknowledge your failures, take responsibility for them, and actively work to fix them.
Until you can do the above, you will receive common courtesy, but you are not entitled to respect.