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“I've Learned That People Will Forget What You Said, People Will Forget What You Did, but People Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel”


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Every human being and nation, irrespective of their power or strength, has the right to be respected. “Respect is an unassuming resounding force, the stuff that equity and justice are made of.” It means being treated with consideration and esteem and to be willing to treat people similarly. It means to have a regard for other peoples’ feelings, listening to people and hearing them, i.e. giving them one’s full attention. Even more importantly, respect means treating one with dignity. Respect is the opposite of humiliation and contempt. So where the latter can be a cause of conflict, the former and its opposite can help transform it.

“Human beings have a host of emotional needs for love and recognition, for belonging and identity, for purpose and meaning to lives. If all these needs had to be subsumed in one word, it might be respect”

Respect is the first positive step in building a relationship and relationships are central to conflict transformation. One does not have to like a person or understand his viewpoint to accord him respect. Respect comes with the belief that a person or culture can have beliefs contradictory to ours and we should still honor them, as basic respect is a fundamental right of all human beings. In addition, goals and concessions become easier to attain when the element of respect is present

Respect plays an important role in a number of ways.

  1. Respect allows one to build trust with “the other.”
  2. Respect allows one to build and rebuild relationships.
  3. It provides one with “an entry,” into the other side
  4. Those who are respected within the community are most likely to be able to bring or encourage peace.
  5. In addition, according respect can make the key difference in the direction of the conflict.
  6. Its presence can lead to a positive change, whilst its absence may lead to even more destruction.
The presence of respect can therefore create opportunities. It is then up to the peace builder to act upon them.