I have long believed that people and places that respect themselves in turn receive respect. Having lived most of my adult life in urban areas, in transitioning neighborhoods, this became apparent. Much like the Broken Window Theory of policing, that focuses on small quality of life issues and views them as the impetus for greater crime, a snowballing effect. The idea suggests that one broken window can lead to graffiti, dumping and so on, until the area festers with greater crime. On the other hand if a neighborhood bands together and cleans up the street, maintains the housing stock, participates in beautification projects the opposite becomes true, crime will reduce. What is true of places, is also true for people.
People that demonstrate that they respect themselves are largely respected by others. This is often reflected by their presentation and outward appearance and mannerism; dress, cleanliness, health, speech and virtue. Increased respectability also leads to greater power, as others will tend entrust those with these positive attributes. Less respectable appearances and behavior may attract more attention, but their valuation in the eyes of others is low.
I believe all people deserve to be treated with basic civil decency, but respect, like trust, is earned. The notion that a person must earn respect is somehow being confused and lost in the commodified world of virtual realities, celebrity worship, and anti-social thought narratives. If a person does not truly respect themselves, why are they surprised when others don’t? It’s funny, the people who are most easily angered about feeling disrespected are often those whose character is most dubious and unflattering. Perhaps, this is because there is an underlying shame that is easily triggered. None-the-less, this seems to be a simple truth and a wise maxim to live by – A person that respects themselves, is most often respected by others.