Respect is a tricky thing. If you look up the word respect in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary you find this definition: “A high or special regard: esteem.” But I’m not sure if that definition really encompasses all that respect means to people.

I think Urban Dictionary comes closer with one of its definitions: “A word synonymous with acknowledgement, recognition and consideration.” Because really when we ask for respect, that is usually what we are asking for. We’re asking to be acknowledged that we are also human beings. We are asking to be recognized for our particular talents and the work we put in to something. And we are asking to be considered a valuable part of society.

The sad part really is that Urban Dictionary seems to have another accurate definition of the word respect: “A quality seriously lacking in today’s society.”

Can I get an amen to that?

How many times a day at work, at home, online or in personal relationships do you feel like you aren’t respected? For some, it may not be a lot. It may depend on the day. Or you may wake up every morning and dread getting out of bed because you know that no one will appreciate what you give to the world.

And I get that. I’ve felt that. But I think I’ve come up with a game plan to deal with any lack of respect I encounter. At least for now.

You see it’s much harder to change someone else’s views. It’s hard to get your selfish friend to acknowledge that your opinions matter too. It’s hard to get your boss to recognize all that you do for the company. It’s hard to get your family or your significant other to consider your feelings before acting.

As much as I would love to have Aretha Franklin follow me around and remind people that, “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect,” I know that won’t really make a difference. Because though you may have earned every bit of that respect, people are people. And people are often so caught up in their own lives that they may not even realize how they’re affecting you.

But you know what? You shouldn’t let that demotivate you. You shouldn’t let other people’s lack of respect get you down. Because we were all blessed with gifts from God and, though others may not notice, we are all making a difference in this world.

So in 2017, I’m going to try something new:

  • Working as hard as I can, not for others, but for myself.
  • Focusing on those that do respect me and pushing others to the back of my mind.
  • Reminding myself everyday that I am important and that God knows and respects that.
  • And finally, by making an extra effort to respect, i.e., acknowledge, recognize and consider, others I come across.

Hopefully these few steps will give me an extra boost in the New Year. Hopefully they can help someone else who doesn’t feel respected. And hopefully they can remind us all that we are here for a purpose, and no matter how unappreciated you may feel, you are doing God’s work. And that’s enough.

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