Respect and Disrespect… Again!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 13, Number 8

As August is still a vacation month for many of us, we have decided to repeat an E-Letter from 2017 that received many positive comments. We think it is as timely now as it was last year, perhaps even more so as people, politics, and the media have become increasingly more disrespectful.

The topic is Respect and Disrespect. We hope you again find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous positive and compassionate comments we have received.


The concept of respect is really twofold; how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to others. In fact, the question becomes whether we can respect others if we do not respect ourselves. Respect refers to the regard and admiration we have for ourselves and others. It is a measure of self-esteem and an appreciation of our own values. It is in a sense a code by which we live by. If we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, or go along with the crowd, or not speak up when we should, then we are disrespecting ourselves. If we do what we know is wrong, then we are disrespecting ourselves. If we engage in certain behaviors that hurt ourselves, then we disrespect ourselves. Perhaps, underlying all of this is whether we really care about ourselves.

The same holds true for others. If we are selfish and do not share with others, we disrespect them. If we are unconcerned about the welfare of others, we disrespect them. If being right and we are only concerned in what we want without considering the consequences of our actions, then we disrespect others. If we use others to get ahead, then we are disrespecting them. If we are entitled, we disrespect others.

How can society function when one is only concerned about their self-interests? Perhaps that is why we are seeing an erosion of our society’s values. For a society to flourish, there needs to be a recognized code of conduct where people treat others with goodwill and expect to be treated likewise. Values need to be honored, institutions respected and changed gradually by agreement, conflicts resolved through discussion and compromise, and respect for each other is paramount.

Respect for others involves understanding and acknowledging the feelings and ideas of others even though you may not agree. It involves the listening to others and liking them because of their qualities and their self-respect. It involves being courteous and using appropriate language that includes “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”. It involves not taking advantage of them and treating them as being important. In fact, research has shown that the two most important factors in successful relationships are mutual trust and respect. By respecting others, you take them seriously and give them worth and value.

Respect is not directly taught. It is learned by watching others and by listening to the language people use to communicate with others. When people use positive words, good feelings are generated and respect tends to be heightened rather than diminished when negative or curse words are used. Disrespect is learned by watching society reward others who slowly erode language, institutions, people, and other social values

To be respectful is simple. Just practice the Golden Rule. Treat others in the way that you would like to be treated. In addition, stick to your own values despite their being eroded by others. Respect yourself by using good manners, positive words, and compromise. Acknowledge the opinions and beliefs of others even though you may not agree with them. Be assertive and speak with confidence, strength, and pride in yourself.

We offer the following information on Respect and Disrespect!

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?— Confucius


  • Respect is a positive feeling of esteem for a person or thing as well as an appreciation for the qualities of the one respected
  • Having respect for another means that we hold them in high regard; we value who they are and what they do and may even want to act like them
  • It means that we appreciate their uniqueness and allow them to make their own decisions even if we disagree
  • There can be no respect for others without having self-respect
  • Successful relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect
  • Respect is the also foundation for a society to grow and flourish
  • When there is respect between people, there is less conflict and more cooperation
  • A society survives upon respect for itself and others even if it doesn’t agree with them; it must promote caring, charitable behaviors, and treat people with goodwill not abuse
  • People are not directly taught to respect; they learn it through watching others and how people use language to communicate with others
  • By using positive words rather than negative words, a respectful society can be built
  • Conversely, people learn disrespect by watching society reward others who slowly erode language, institutions, people, and other social values
  • Studies have shown that people respect others differently based on how they look, talk, act, dress, their jobs, their wealth, and whether they have tattoos and piercings
  • When we give respect, people feel valued, important, and secure
  • When we give respect, we get back respect from others
  • Disrespect is fostered through jealousy, hatred, derogation, and resentment
  • When we disrespect ourselves, often by imitating what society’s leaders or role models say and do, we are really throwing away our own identities and self-esteem
  • To gain respect, live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and treat others as you would like to be treated
  • How you treat yourself is important; If you show self-respect, others will treat you with respect
  • If you treat yourself poorly by not caring how you act, look, or relate to others, people will treat you in the same way
  • To show self-respect, hold yourself to high standards, accept responsibility for your actions, live by a code of ethics, and treat others with dignity

  • Maintain your own values and do not become a follower just to fit in with others
  • Be courteous, use good manners, use positive words, and be able to compromise to show respect to others
  • Be assertive and speak with confidence, strength, and pride in yourself
  • Associate with those who respect you and have your best interests in mind
  • Stand up to others who treat you disrespectfully
  • Seek professional help if you consistently feel that you are disrespected or victimized

Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067
Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

Till September…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.