Would you rather be loved or respected? Why?
This is a difficult question. The answer most people want to give is love. “All you need is love.” Right? It’s the easy answer. We all want to feel loved. We all want to spend every day knowing that someone thought about us or someone missed us. It’s an essential part of our existence. That is exactly why I’m going to argue for the word respect.
That’s a term we hear all the time. “Respect your elders. Respect your peers. Show some respect.” But do we spend every day thinking, “I really wish someone respected me?” We do more than we realize. As an aunt, I know that I want my nieces and nephews to respect me as their elder. As a sister, I know that I want my siblings to take me seriously, and not only view me as their little sister. As a daughter, I want my parents to respect the person I’ve gown into, because I want them to be proud of me. I want my peers to respect me, because if they don’t, I become a joke to them. We look for respect all the time, we just don’t see it that way because we’re blinded by the word love.
We can have someone tell us that they love us, but if they don’t respect us, they aren’t going to treat us right. Even with my nieces and nephews, I’ve seen it happen. I know that they love me with all their hearts, but they don’t execute those feelings well, because sometimes they say things that hurt my feelings. I know that my siblings love me, but sometimes I feel like they take advantage of that, because they only need me when it’s convenient for them. I know that I’m loved, but I don’t always know that I’m respected.
If I could only choose being loved or respected, I think I’d want to choose respected. People can’t show you respect unless they care to some degree, even a stranger has to be kind in order to show respect. But you can love someone without always showing them respect. In a world that exists on human interaction, and a world that doesn’t consistently show love enough, I want to choose respect. I want to choose it, because on a day to day basis, it makes me feel better knowing someone respects me simply be being kind. I don’t hear the words “I love you” twenty times a day, although I know someone out there does. But I do interact with people on a smaller level every day, and I still want to be treated kindly when that happens.
Lucky for us, we live in a world where we don’t have to choose between love and respect. We should show both all the time.