By Susie Burrell

If you take time to consider what the most fundamental component of a good relationship is, whether it is intimate or non intimate, personal or professional, long or short term – respect would be close to the top of the list. Respect is generally earned over time, based on our perceptions as well as experience of and with a person and exceptionally challenging to get back once it has been lost. Unlike most instant feelings and emotions such as like or attraction, respect tends to take time to build, although it can be lost in an instant.  


One thing to consider when it comes to respect, is that it is all based on perception. In situations in which you feel that you have been disrespected, often our immediate reaction to such as scenario is to be angry or annoyed at the individual over what you perceive to be disrespectful. If such behaviour is a one off, remember it is not always disrespect as opposed to thoughtlessness, ignorance or non awareness – none of which are attractive behaviours but are quite different to disrespect. On the other hand, if such behaviours are repeatedly demonstrated within our relationships, the most important thing to consider is that we actually teach others how to treat us. This means that if we repeatedly feel as if we are not being treated with respect, something we are doing to teaching others to treat us this way. 


For important relationships, ones which you want to salvage or keep in your life, to change this dynamic you will have to be prepared to rebuild the relationship, which will take time and much communication which you may, or may not decide is worth investing in. For new relationships though, it is crucial that at the first sign of disrespect that you let the other person know that it is not ok to treat you badly. You may ultimately decide to rid your life of this person, or simply let them know via your own means that their behaviour is non acceptable but you will be guaranteed to a) either rid your life of people who do not treat you the way you need to be treated to be at your best or b) quickly get the people to shape up or ship out which may sound harsh, but may in fact be the best thing for you at the time. 

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