Respect, one of the most important words in any language.
If you really think about it, isn't respect at the root cause of many of the world's problems? Sure, famine and disease are also serious problems but most world conflicts have the lack of respect at their root cause.
Why are so many of us sports fans? The Super Bowl is coming up. Why do we want our team to win? Because if our teams wins then we get
R - E - S - P - E - C - T
We don't get money, we don't get a Super Bowl ring, but we sure do get respect.
Now take respect on the personal level. I know of no person who doesn't want respect from their family, friends, co-workers or even strangers they pass by in the street.
We live our lives aspiring to a career for self fulfillment. Some strive to make a lot of money to gain respect. Some are born with talent and embark on careers to gain respect. Even criminals strive for respect. That is the cause of all the gang related turf wars that one often hears about in the inner cities.
At this time of my life I often think back on my past years and contemplate on why I made the decisions I have made. Sure, I wanted independence. I wanted to make enough money to have a comfortable life. I wanted to meet somebody who I would love and who would love me in return to complete my goal of the pursuit of happiness. But I also was had the goal of respect in my sights.
I could have chosen a career that would have made me a lot of money but I would not have respected myself nor have the respect of my peers.
One of the reasons I joined the Army at out of high school was that I thought I had the obligation to serve my country. I know that sounds corny now but that is the way I felt. I never entertained the option of avoiding serving my country. However, I did not want to be in a combat unit. I didn't want to shoot anybody or have anybody shoot at me so I joined, believing (rightly as it turned out) that I would have some say in what I would do during my three years of service to my country.
When I got out of the Army, this son of a semi-illiterate hillbilly, the first in my family to graduate from high school, wanted a different career than my father. I wanted a white collar job, specifically in bank.
I didn't go to college because I was told by my Mother when I entered ninth grade in high school they couldn't afford to send me to college. So I knew at 14 years old that I would have to take a different route to get a "respectable" job.
After I got out of the Army, and after a few non-banking job, I finally got my much coveted job at a bank. I worked in center city Philadelphia for thirty years. I worked another seven years at banks outside of Philadelphia. I now work part-time at a hotel front desk job. All "respectable" jobs. Not that my father's jobs weren't respectable but I had a dream for myself and I went for it and succeeded.
My personal life has also been guided by respect. One reason I've been with Bill for forty-eight years is that he respects me as I do him. Of course I love him too but more important, he respects me. Love is one thing, respect is something else altogether.
My personality is that I respect everybody right out of the box. That is until they show they don't respect me then I cannot respect them. That's just my nature for which I make no apologies.
Disrespect come in many forms from the former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney blatantly lying to the American public to a so called "friend" who really doesn't like you but is only a friend to take advantage of you. Unfortunately I have the type of personality which seems to invite this type of person to take advantage of me. Has it happened to me? Yes, more times that I care to admit. My turning point came many years ago (1980 to be specific).
That year which was almost to the day that John Lennon was shot (which I will always remember "where I was"), someone who I cared for a great deal almost destroyed me. Even though I came close to the bottom, I was able to pull myself up and vow never to let that happen to me again. And I haven't.
In the years since I have worked for employers who have tried to take advantage of me because of my natural good nature. I can still see the surprise on their faces when I ended those relationships on my own terms. I did this because of my own self-respect.
I've also done the same thing on a personal level. Some people who I thought were friends turned out not to have my best interest at heart but only their own interests and sought to use me as their vehicle to gain their ends. They too were surprised when I ended those relationships.
I remember something the comedian Phyllis Diller said many years ago when she ending her relationships with friends who were negative and bringing her down. She said "They'll take you down with them." And they will, I know.
These days I am very selective who I have for friends. I really don't care what anyone else thinks about me, it doesn't make a difference. I know who my friends are, I know who respects me and I respect them. I also know who respects me on a national level. President Obama respects me. The current version of the Republican Party does not.
Entertainers, someone like Bradley Cooper respects me because he is totally honest. Someone like Beyonce (who I used to like) does not because she lied to her public and then has the arrogance to come back and give lame excuses for her lies.
I thoroughly enjoy blogging. I have made many friends through blogging who I believe respect me and I respect them. Of course there are a few "Anonymous" folks out there who occasionally leave negative comments on my blog because they don't think I have the right to express my opinion. Obviously they don't respect me and only seem to have as their goal to bring me down to their level of negativity. I refuse to go there.
I thank those friends of mine both personal and here on this blog who have enriched my life with their thoughtful, kind and respectful comments.
I appreciate you, I respect you and I thank you.