The line between Respect and Fear

A Gangster was asked why he carried a gun. He replied:“Before I had this gun, I didn’t get any respect. Now I do.”

Well this line tells all .This article is not about us as professionals its about us as a role model as a brother sister or as Parents.

In a recent survey I spoke to many parents and teachers and I found out that they believe if a child obeys them, or says “Yes, Sir/ No, Sir,” it means the child respects them. Several teachers have told me they felt more respected when there was more ‘discipline’ in the classrooms.

There is a danger in mislabeling fear as respect. To use an analogy, consider what would happen if two jars in the medicine cabinet were mislabeled. What if poison Liq ARSENIC was labeled as cough syrup, or acid as contact lens cleaner?

Here are some comparisons between fear and respect:

  • Fear is toxic.
  • Respect is nurturing.
  • Fear destroys self-confidence. Respect builds it.
  • Fear is life-threatening. Respect is life-enhancing.
  • Fear is forced. Respect is earned.
  • Fear is learned. Respect is earned

To confuse the two creates serious problems for society. Fear and respect are very similar feelings, as anyone who’s heard a ghetto kid use the terms interchangeably can attest to. But they’re not the same. Where is the border between fear and respect, or rather, how are they related to each other?

Respect always involves at least a bit of low level fear or at least the potential for it. That is, one cannot feel true respect someone or something that isn’t capable of adversely affecting him. Respect also has other ingredients. It’s kind of like liking and fearing someone at the same time. If you look at the root of the word (“look back” in Latin), this makes sense. Respecting someone is like constantly looking back over your shoulder at someone following you, always making sure they’re never too far or too close.

Fear is a purer emotion. It’s simply the recognition that someone or something has the potential to harm you, and nothing more. It doesn’t involve the complex mix of attraction and avoidance that respect does — it simply makes people want to get away from the object of fear ASAP, and stay away.

There is no respect (or love) in fearing someone, or vice versa. There’s only a response to a perceived danger, and a change in attitude one adopts in the desire to escape that danger or to befriend what one perceives as a `greater power’ in order to be a part of it rather than its target.

Real respect is in empathy and understanding, of two different people on a level ground, looking straight at each other — not in a top-dog/under-dog relationship, where one is looking up at the other, and then away, as the other is looking down at him.

It is important for a parent to be an authority figure and not a tyrant.

When you respect someone, you value them and what they have to share. When you fear the person, you do what they say to do to prevent consequences. Fear does not allow the child to develop and grow. They don’t learn how to become independent thinkers, make decisions or express themselves in a relationship that is kept together by fear.

So it’s our choice what we create in minds of our children’s, brothers, sisters, nephews etc.

“Respect is reverence out of love; Fear is reverence out of hate. Choose Wisely” 
― Abhishek Shukla,  The Reflection “Success
or Stress”Choose Wisely


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