Respect – for me personally, it’s a word that I’ve known since my childhood. When I wanted to have something, my parents asked me "What is the magic word Eva?" Without any question, I answered with "please” or “thanks," because I knew this was the way I could get what I wanted. Of course, the older I got, I learned why I was using the words “thanks” or a polite “please”. A simple “bless you” and a “thank you” is also a form of respect or rather politeness to me. But actually, real respect means so much more.
What Is The Meaning Behind respect?
Every now and then, I check certain words in the slang dictionary Urban Dictionary to have a look at the definitions from users all over the world. Mostly, they are quite funny. When I entered the word "respect" this time, the first explanation was quite general and plausible: It means valuing each others points of views. It means being open to being wrong. It means accepting people as they are. It means not dumping on someone because you're having a bad day. It means to always be polite and kind because being nice to people is not negotiable. It means not dissing people just because they are different to you. It means not gossiping about people or spreading lies.
Clear words that I personally take for granted. However, everyday life and reality show that respect also shows up in different ways. After I scrolled down to the next definition in theUrban Dictionary, I found another pretty accurate meaning: respect is a quality that is lacking in today's society.
How Equality & Social Media Go Together
If we take a look at today's world, we are often times far away from respect. Or is it considered as respectful if one of the most powerful people in the world wants to separate children from their parents or build a kilometer-long wall to "protect" his country? In my opinion, respect begins with appreciating other people and upholding human dignity. In addition, the always-growing power of media makes it even easier to express opinions.
Whether it’s a hate comment in a picture on Instagram or just the classic gossip press that is known for spreading the biggest lies ever. Where a selfie of a celebrity and a fan quickly becomes a secret affair. For me personally, I can only shake my head and I wonder whether there are no more interesting things than spreading lies about other people.
All in all, several books could be written about the word respect. Although these examples may come up with the impression that respect has been forgotten in many ways, for me it seems as it is slowly going in the right direction again. Whether it’s the growing discussion about equal rights for all people, the awareness of a simple “please” and “thanks” or a polite treatment with one another. Even if we still have a long way to go, more and more people stand up for more respect. Ultimately, I think the book title of the German author Renan Demirkan sums it up perfectly: "Respect: Homesick for Humanity".