I have noticed a lot of memes going around about how people have to “earn respect” by proving themselves worthy of it. Things like this meme:
This is a lumbering dumptruck load of self-satisfied bullshit. It’s like saying “I will treat you like a sub-human until you pass my moral obstacle course.” What kind of arrogant bastard thinks that way? How about instead you say “I will treat you with respect until you do something hurtful or otherwise prove that you’re not worthy of it.”
You don’t “earn respect.” You lose it. A person should treat everyone that they meet with respect and common decency. If the person proves that they don’t deserve it, then they lose it. To think otherwise assumes that people are bad until they prove themselves good. They assume guilty until proven innocent.
Truthfully, I give people several chances. We’re all human, and we all have bad days. Life isn’t easy, and everyone has their own struggle. I won’t let one bad day ruin them for me forever. Yes, I sometimes get burned. More often I find dear friends that I would’ve shut out if I forced them to earn respect.
The irony is that people that demand that you earn respect, often demand respect without earning it.
If a person demands that I jump through their hoops before they judge me worthy, but thinks that they are above such judgement, they lose the respect that I gave them to begin with.
If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself why? Have you been burned by people you respected in the past? Boo hoo, so has everyone. So have I. It doesn’t mean that my world view comes tumbling down. Don’t let your past affect your future.
Be brave, and risk that loss. Have a backbone, not a wishbone.