Concept of the Month -- September 2002

"Respect" in the Street Sense versus Respect in the Responsible World

We hear some one say that he hit someone because "he disrespected me."  Let's look at what this means.  The individual with a criminal personality demands that others see him as the hub of the wheel, the center of the universe around which all else rotates.  He demands "respect" -- that others give him what he thinks is his due.  Failing to receive what he wants, the antisocial person erupts, launching an offensive or blaming others.

In the responsible world, respect is not based on propping one's image up by demanding that others recognize you in the way you want. Respect is not demanded at all. Respect is an outcome.  We respect people who have accomplished things, done good deeds, behaved nobly. Respect is an outgrowth of responsible behavior.  It is earned, not demanded.

Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D.

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