Should respect be earned?

Today I had an appointment at the barbershop to get my hair cut again. I made the appointment last Saturday, to be there at 12:00, as soon as the place would open up. So I came in just before 12:00, right on time for the haircut. An elderly man was already waiting. Since there was only one barber working today, people had to wait for some time to get their haircuts. That is why I made an appointment. Then I at least know when I will get my haircut. So as soon as I got in, I was the first customer of the day. The old man didn’t like that, even though we explained him, in English and Dutch, that I had an appointment at 12:00. The man felt like he should be first, because he was in the barbershop first. He was throwing a tantrum, and kept making snarky comments. The amount of disrespect the man was showing, really annoyed me. I was losing my respect for that old man. Even though we often get told to respect the elderly, I started to question that. No matter what age you are, if you are disrespectful to other people, I don’t think you deserve to get respect.

For me everyone starts at some sort of base-line of respect. I will treat you with the same respect as I would like to receive. There are no exceptions. The moment I don’t treat someone with respect, is when they have done something to hurt that respect. Let’s take the old man for example. He treated the barber in a very disrespectful way, even though multiple people explained the situation to the man. He still chose to keep going on. For me your age really doesn’t matter when it comes to respect. When you treat others with disrespect, then you don’t earn respect yourself. Other than that, it is also really stupid to be disrespectful to the guy who cuts your hair. The old man should earn the respect from the barber again. He doesn’t deserve respect without doing anything for it anymore.

That were my emotions talking. Let’s see it from a different point of view now. Some people just really need to learn what it is to give and receive respect. But how will they be able to do that, if we would pay them back with the same disrespect as they give us? Then we will be going around in circles, with nothing ever changing. I think we should keep giving the same amount of respect as we would like to receive. That is very difficult, because I think everyone also has these lines which are not meant to be crossed. When people do cross a specific line, then it can just be done. Then the emotions will do the talking and (dis)respect-giving.

Sometimes I just can’t understand why people are acting the way they are. Just relax a little bit. The fun thing also is, that if the man would just have been kind and polite, he could have had his haircut before me. I don’t care. But I also think that we shouldn’t reward people for being disrespectful to others. That is why I didn’t offer my place, and let him wait 40 minutes. Maybe he learns something out of it, maybe he doesn’t. Of course, I also kinda let him wait because he annoyed me. That were my feelings talking. But other than that, I kept talking with him respectfully, because maybe then the man will learn to change his behavior.

Treat others with the respect that you would like to receive.

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