Respect is the vehicle to a core desire and need of human beings: to simply feel valuable to someone else. When we were evolving as a species, humans were not the strongest, not the fastest, not the smallest or the largest. In fact, by ourselves we were incredibly vulnerable to other larger, faster, stronger predators who probably considered us a pretty easy and tasty meal.
We developed groups and communities as a way to survive. Collectively, we could overcome the inherent physical deficits of being human. When you were valuable to a group, you conferred a selective advantage to yourself and to those around you–you were able to help find food, help share food, and help ward off predators and enemies. You were more capable of surviving and having babies, and then could inherit the growing biological and social imperative of being a valuable member of a group. If you were not valuable, you were more likely to be cast out to fend for yourself, and more likely to be some other animals breakfast!
Through this evolutionary lens, being valued by someone else is very calming and does not activate that “Oh My God! I’m going to be eaten!” ancient and primitive fear. When we feel respected we feel valuable, and when we feel valuable, we feel safe. It is in this relationship of respect where trust develops, and trust is the foundation of the human’s unlimited potential.
People want to feel respected by others, and actually get very angry if they are not. Think about this in your own life. I am willing to bet that 90% of the time when you have felt the angriest was when you perceived being disrespected by somebody else.
Again, when is the last time you got angry at someone treating you with respect? You don’t. The brain is not designed to work that way. I believe this has the same valence as an apple falling down. Apples do not fall up and the brain does not activate anger when it feels safe. Again, think about this in your own life. It is very, very hard to get angry, or to stay angry, when you are being treated with respect.”