Do you show respect to others in your life? Do they show the same to you? What do you regard as respectful behavior? Is it merely doing as one says when they say they'll do it, or does it dive much deeper than that, demonstrating by not only backing up what one says, as much as one does?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of respect is: "Respect gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., "I have great respect for her judgment"). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of respect, disrespect, whereas actions that honor somebody or something indicate respect."

When someone shows you respect, you feel it. Their words and actions reflect admiration, trust, truth, and honorable intentions. They aren't rude or outwardly bias against you. They make you want to be around them because you enjoy their admirable behavior. If you disagree, you disagree with mutual respect and don't hold grudges. If you say you're going to do something, from making a simple phone call or meeting during a predetermined period all the way to never lying inside a lifelong friendship, respect is a cherished thing to behold.

Like most, I've been exposed to disrespectful people, both in my personal and business life. And unless my occupation demands it, there are very few left around me. I've come to the point in life when I simply can't afford to waste time on those who aren't respectful. Life is so much easier when you not only show respect to others, but you've also earned respect from them. If I see or engage with someone who doesn't show respectful behavior towards others, why would their relationship be any different with me?

In my novel, Sons In The Clouds I tried showing what happens when two people have each others backs no matter what. They learned from each other, held each others secrets, supported their mistakes, and dared to tell each other the truth when nobody else would. They both knew they could count on each other no matter what, especially when the world was very cruel. It was a rare relationship which most could learn from, demonstrating the unique ability to equally share a mutual appreciation.

Respect is something you must demand, or rarely ever receive. Contempt and humiliation are the absence of respect, as are not being heard or understood. The absence of respect or a perceived lack of respect often leads to conflicts at an individual, family and social level. Since the first key step to building strong relationships is respect, the absence of respect or the breakdown of respect are also key factors in the breakdown of relationships and in the occurrence of conflict. Relationships and contacts that are built without the presence of respect are seldom long term or sustainable.

Anytime I begin a new relationship with someone, no matter if it's in person or on the web, I look for things which show respect. Do they value my time, do they turn off their cell phone while having a meal, if they disagree with me are they using facts or anger, is their behavior consistent with what I regard as being honorable, do they say or write things which are intended to hurt or cause conflict, and do they say one thing to you, then another to someone else? Do they show you the same respect as they would, say, their boss, parent, or significant other?

If someone doesn't respect you, for whatever reason, it isn't your job to try and change their behavior. They simply do or don't, and trying to find out why isn't worthy of your time, especially if your demeanor is respectful towards them. Some people just aren't capable of being respectful towards others, more than likely because they don't respect themselves. And in order to respect others, you must grow it deep inside.

Believe it or not, and not to get all holistic or astrological on you, one thing I do believe in is, Karma-- the idea that what comes around goes around. I've watched many who've lived very disrespectful lives only to suffer the consequences later. It's something which seems to have become more commonplace in our super-competitive society: people stepping on others to get that next promotion only to be fired later, relationships and marriages failing because of a lack of mutual appreciation, politicians portraying themselves as honorable only to go down in tabloid flames. It makes it hard to differentiate what's normal behavior. All of which could be avoided if simple respect were ever-present.

Showing respect towards others, and they towards you is a good thing, a wonderful thing, something which is easily learned if effort is made.

Here's to less conflict, and more respect...

To read more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com

Read an excerpt of his inspirational romance novel, SONS IN THE CLOUDS on Amazon!