It seems like today, people seek attention more than anything else. However, respect is much more precious than attention, and here is why.
We have a mainstream culture which supports instant gratification, from posting on Instagram only to count your “likes”, to fishing for approval when talking to others around you.
Have you ever paid a compliment to a friend just to see if he or she would return the favor?
We do this because we want to be liked and validated. We want to hear someone say that we are good enough, and though there is nothing wrong with this, it’s important to hear these words from yourself first. Once you truly believe that you are adequate and present yourself in this way, others will see as well and likely follow your lead. I believe the greater concept we are circling around is respect.
If you seek attention, you will surely get it…at least for a fleeting moment.
If you dress to impress, people will make a comment, or if you show off an expensive purchase people will gawk and express their temporary jealously. After a few hours, however, the sensation will probably fade. You’re not going to change someone’s opinion on your relevancy by having the hottest car, but you will always be regarded highly if you are respected. To be respected means to have others believe in you. For example, if you are respected by your peers, they will trust that you keep your promises and they will see value in your opinions.
If others pay a great deal of attention to you, yet they don’t highly respect you, it’s a sign that you are receiving negative attention. If a Celebrity freaks out and shaves her head or checks into rehab, she receives attention. The public is interested again, but not in a positive way. When this happens people mainly gossip, laugh and say nasty things and while attention rises, respect falls. Soon enough the attention fades and there was no respect, to begin with, leaving this unfortunate person without anything they originally set out for.
It is better to seek respect than attention, even if the attention is greater because respect will always last longer.
If you present yourself as a genuine person, people will remember that, even if they don’t talk about it as frequently as highly attention-grabbing matters. The famous singer-songwriter Pink is quoted as saying, “Once you figure out what respect tastes like, it tastes better than attention. But you have to get there.” If you can get to the point where you appreciate a slightly monotonous yet high level of respect, over more frequent yet low-quality attention, you will be a truly happier person overall. Of course, not all of us can be an internationally acclaimed performer like Alecia Beth Moore.
You may be wondering, how can the rest of us gain respect?
The first step to gaining respect from others is to establish respect for yourself and this comes harder to some than others. If you don’t believe in yourself, this will come across easily to others. How can you expect others to believe in someone who doesn’t believe in his or herself? Tell yourself that you are important and deserve to be taken seriously. Don’t be overly nice to others or apologize when it’s not necessary. This type of behavior will lead to others walking all over you, which is the very opposite of respecting you.
Show others your competency by following through on your plans and delivering high-quality thoughts. Think before you speak and speak only the truth. Don’t just agree with someone so that they like you, this will come off as fake and weak. Show others that you can make decisions for yourself and face challenges head on, without always looking to someone else.
Once you have the realization that your concept of attention and respect is unbalanced, you are already half way there!
Earning respect from others and even yourself is often a long journey, you can’t expect it to happen overnight. Many would say, in reality, it’s a journey that never ends.
By Lauren G.