Respect, like so many other aspects of relationships, flow up and down. While making sure respect remains mutual, one might need to shore up flagging levels. One needs to establish respect at the outset because gaining more can only occur if it exists to begin with. Once with respect, then a few simple behaviors will guard what has been gained and slowly add to it.
Guarding the Line
A good way to increase the respect being received starts with preventing the loss of any gained over time. These behaviors come from strong inner core. The world and partners will seek to erode personal respect for several reasons. They might feel threatened, seek to build themselves up through destruction or make sure their own level of respect does not diminish. Here are some good practices to not lose anything from the bucket holding your respect.
* Set Boundaries: Attacks to respect happen most frequently when someone does not have healthy boundaries. The best definition of boundaries equates to a line in the sand delineating something not to be violated. Disrespectful people will be inclined to step over the line for any number of reasons including believing their needs outstrip the natural reasons for the boundary.
* Be Independent: People respect those who are capable of existing in a state of sufficiency. This does not mean fierce independence punctuated by an attitude of not needing anyone is called for. Such a hard line stance fails to encourage a partnership. A fine line separates being different from a partner and remaining isolated emotionally.
* Respect Yourself: The simplest way to maintain respect centers around having it for yourself. Asking a partner, even someone who loves you deeply, to have something you do not have for yourself is akin to expecting a horse to fly. Take the time to assess your own value and stand up for it when challenged.
On the Offensive
Being defensive alone will gain nothing. At best, a steady guarding of respect will prevent any from going astray. Only when combined with active step will aid in building the level of respect. Unlike with vigilant approach, active responses for respect need to be doled out in targeted doses if they are going to be effective.
* Avoid Settling: It can be easy to think the best way to build the relationships centers around getting along. Working together within a couple can be important, but constant compromising pokes holes in bucket holding respect. One knows when they are settling and need to stand up for what is important. Which leads to the next arrow in the quiver.
* Speak Out: Thinking things never bring about change. Only by taking the risk and calling for respect verbally will clarify how important it is to you. Without that tangible conversation, they could claim a lack of knowledge. These types of discussions may cause sparks. Having a plan and sticking to it will help in the heat of the conversation.
* Stick to What You Say: Respect is never gained by grand speeches alone. When a plan has been established or a boundary set, following through is critical. The action alone demonstrates the level of commitment and garner more respect. Being aware of how this will play in the future should also curtail any overly ambitious promises.
Respect must remain mutual. Careful selection of a partner, cultivating the relationship and taking time to consider how each decision will impact the other person builds the reservoir of respect for both people. Hang in there, do the work and revel in what is being formed by sowing seeds in the fertile ground of a respectful relationship.