So, just a heads-up, but this entry may be more of a rant than actual philosophy. I feel a compulsion to talk about RESPECT as it has been on my mind even more lately. So, here goes…
As an artist and creative individual, I believe in the “gray area” – a lot. What does that mean? Well, I am not talking about gray area morally, I am talking about not seeing the world in such a linear and black and white way, so that point of view ultimately harms you. Being black and white in your point of view leads to making assumptions about things, about people and keeps you from having an open mind, which is what you need in order to explore and be creative.
On some things, however, I am very black and white. One of those is the idea that “fair is fair” and that you treat people with respect, because that is only fair. As the owner of a business, I have hired many, many people over the years and as a result, I have also had to fire many, many people over the years. (Now, one could make the point that I must not be good at hiring – but, that is not my point) Firing someone is not easy. There is clearly a lot of tension and even anger. I can honestly say though that in all the times I had to fire someone, most of the time it ended with them shaking my hand and thanking me. Seriously. They would thank me.
Some would say it was for the opportunity to work there at the company and others would say it was for how I handled this firing process. I soon came to realize that they were actually thanking me for treating them with respect. They may have been very angry with me and even hated me, thinking I was ruining my own company by letting them go, but they always made some mention of respect and how I had treated them.
I believe everyone needs to be treated with respect, and I have found that I expect to be treated with respect (mainly because that is how I treat people). As a result of this expectation, it is no wonder that I get very upset when I (or even worse – a loved one or friend) is not treated with respect. That is when I become very black and white and see a definite cause and effect. “They have crossed a line and now need to be punished to the full extent of the law” (whatever that means…!) I have very little desire to try to “understand” why they did what they did – it’s just wrong. Unacceptable. Period. End of story. They must be brought to see the light, to be shown just how amazingly and utterly wrong they actually are!
My wife is on the other side of the world, working a temporary contract in another culture where that idea of respect is, well, different from how I tend to see it. They are not bad people (I am really trying here to be more “understanding”) but they just treat people differently. So this week when they were so rude and disrespectful to her – it was really, really hard for me to not get on a plane and go over there and beat some respect into them. Then, slowly, and begrudgingly I realized that that attitude was not the best attitude to have, and that I had to admit – I was not respecting them.
Don’t get me wrong here – I have not been fully enlightened. I still feel a strong urge to beat some sense into them (very respectfully of course) but, I am realizing that it is a lot easier to respect someone who treats you with respect, than someone who does not. I know – kind of a “duh” moment there – but like I said at the beginning of this – I tend to be a bit more “black and white” here and not as open minded so I am learning…