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Whom Do You Respect?

Take a minute and consider the question, whom do you respect? Should this be a long list or a respectvery short one? The problem with a long list is the candidates probably can’t be well vetted. A short list may make us out to be too cynical.

Let’s define the size of the list. You can only put five names on this esteemed list. This won’t restrict you, just possibly be a cause for adjustment of the definition.

Maybe you’ve gotten this far and can’t figure out why you should bother to make such a list. It’s because this list is a reflection of who you have become, failed to become, or still desire to become. You may need a mirror to look deep into yourself. Do you see any of the people you respect reflecting back at you? Did they mold your current persona? Are memories of those you respect too far in the past?

Let’s get back to the list. Where would the five names come from? Would they be from those in your current close inner circle, your distant past, or from a worldly list?

Make the list even more defined by relationship. You can only put two relatives on this list and one can’t be your spouse. So, three of these names can’t be family, with the possibility of no family. You could look at teachers, doctors, lawyers, or clergy. Maybe a famous philanthropist or politician could round out your list?

Will you look at your list and actually see yourself? Are you concerned you may not have a list? At this point we need to define what respect is and why someone would deserve your respect.

Respect can come from different attributes. Some of these attributes may have to do with how well those you respect do their job, how they overcame obstacles in their path, how they are true to themselves or how their vision of the future changed your future. Respect is an active emotion and can lead us to emulate those we respect. Respect should blind us to religion, race or sex, as if we can only see the soul of the person. If you don’t believe in the concept of a soul, does this affect you or your list?

Ready to make a list? Don’t feel bad about not choosing two family members. Maybe your relationship with family is too superficial or they just don’t command your respect.

It may take an extensive amount of time to whittle down your list, or significant effort to finally find five deserving people. If your list was long, consider why you respect so many people. Are your standards so low or were you just lucky to have crossed the paths of so many great people? If it was difficult to identify five names, but you finally settled on five, your success may be more self-inspired.

When your list is complete, look at it. Do you measure up to your own list? By way of mathematics, if you have a list of five people that you respect and this is reflected in you, you can respect yourself. If there is still a question in your mind, can you stop, be introspective, and adjust who you are? Should you? Would you be on someone else’s list?

Take a minute. Get to know yourself again. Make any necessary adjustments and move ahead. Respect, reflection, introspection, and self-evaluation help us see who we are.

Respect image available through Shutterstock.

Whom Do You Respect?

Jack Isler

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APA Reference
Isler, J. (2018). Whom Do You Respect?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 8 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.