There is much advice given by many about not having any expectations in life. In my opinion, this is only ever relevant in relation to outcomes for you can never really know how something will turn out. You may have great prophetic skills which can predict the future to some degree, but, do things always turn out in the way that you ‘see’ them? Besides, life is far more interesting when you don’t know what’s going to happen next…

The big exception to this is, respect. That is, taking into consideration people’s feelings, thoughts and rights (I am not referring to the type of respect that requires admiration of another in this article). You should expect to be treated with respect by those you interact with whether it be occasionally, or, consistently. If this doesn’t happen for reasons that are understandable, that is reasonable. For example, someone is having a bad day because they lost some money, or far more seriously, lost a loved one. If they respected you, they would apologize sincerely at some point in the future (unfortunately, too many apologies are inauthentic because people want to be seen to be doing the right thing, or, they want to manipulate you in some way).

The biggest issue with lack of respect is consistent disrespect. I often see this with couples where one is always diminishing the other both in public and in private – they may also take eachother for granted. Parents do this to children. Children do this to parents. Bosses disrespect employees but still expect them to be ‘productive’ workers. The lack of respect in many ‘friendships’ is considered ‘normal’ these days. If you were really their friend you would put up with it, right? Wrong!

If you are someone who thinks it’s OK to be in situations like this, then you don’t need to read any further. If you want more for yourself, then you need to assert yourself. If you don’t, any disappointment in the other person will turn into disappointment in yourself for having put up with such mistreatment. Confront them outright and if that doesn’t work, try the passive-aggressive approach (i.e. ignore them). I have walked out of the room and/or left the building, or, hung up the phone, in situations where I was being disrespected and those responsible were not getting it. Some of these people are still in my life (because they changed) and others bit the dust a while back.

If you are not used to taking such actions this may seem shocking and even ‘cruel’, at first – think of it this way: Would you be OK with a loved one being severely disrespected? If not, what would you do about it?

Helen