Respect is the willingness to show consideration or appreciation for someone. And of course, if we don't have respect for ourselves we can't transmit it to others. Consider that the angry person is often not angry at you but with himself projecting that self-anger onto you. But what's so important about respect in regards to living a better, more joyful life?

Consider this, John Adams, the great political philosopher, said that democracy is about consideration and compromise, unfortunately, few ever do so--consider and compromise, that is. They weren't doing it then and they aren't doing it now. But that's a topic for another book. Nevertheless, our government, according to Adams, was founded on the principle of being open minded and meeting others at least half way. How is this helpful in your reaching toward greater joy? Let's take a closer look.

If you are always on the defensive, doing the Jerry Springer attacking-without-the-option-of-retreat, then you are not only creating a lot of stress in your life you are never going to have the reservoir of calm required to reach toward great joy--read, calm. If one is always at tip-toe stance that creates a lot of stress. Only by creating respect for yourself and others can you live a more centered and empowering life. And giving, which comes first, begets the getting of respect. Charles Burr has some thoughts on this. Please note the small ways you can give. How does that saying go? It's the little things in life.

"Getters generally don't get happiness; givers get it. You simply give to others a bit of yourself, a thoughtful act, a helpful idea, a word of appreciation, a lift over a rough spot, a sense of understanding, a timely suggestion. You take something out of your mind, garnished in kindness out of your heart, and put it into the other fellow's mind and heart."--Charles H. Burr

What do the simplest teachings and applications of respect do for us, meaning, when we are taught at an early age to respect our elders. What happens in our minds when we addressed teachers and parents as Mr. and Mrs.? We innately begin to see that there are relationships which require greater restraint than the mere familiar, such as when we'd encounter friends. It is this stepping up that enhances us, takes us to a higher plain of existence. One of the great commandments is to "honor thy mother and father." It is here where we begin to establish respect for those who not only brought us into the world but are our main care givers until we are independent adults; however, they are our parents throughout our lives. From this respect, we transfer it to teachers, administrators, other adults, and so on. But respect for others is only the beginning.

As we learn this respect for others we begin to see that in order to truly know respect and apply it to others we must learn it for ourselves. For it is the individual who respects others little respects himself little. And the main path to respect for the self is through self-discipline and restraint. It is only through restraint, setting aside time to learn and gain those things that we need for our personal betterment (overcoming selfishness, slothfulness, acquiring accountability, responsibility), that we are able to gain respect for the self and ultimately fully realized respect for others. These United States are based on the great principle that we must respect the individual, that the individual must gain his or her rights in all things, unless that individual has disrespected others according to set laws. And it is only respect for the self and all individuals that will enable greater growth and potential for all, leading to a greater and more stable society, a totem for all.

Author's Bio: 

Jeff has written 100's of essays and articles; over 50 poems; and several books: Now available are his motivational works Black Body Radiation and the Ultraviolet Catastrophe at Amazon.com and To Die at the Age of Man at Lulu.com; Coming soon: Give and Grow Yourself Rich (July, 2008); Education is a Waste of Time, (late 2008); and a children's novella The Search for Adriana (late 2008). Currently, he teaches, speaks and owns Inner Projection, a self-improvement business.