Words and actions have real consequences

PERSPECTIVE: A few fail to grasp the impact of hurtful language.


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I have a lot of pet peeves — I’m pretty sure we all do. But the thing that frustrates me the most is when people lack respect.

It seems that some people don’t have a conscious understanding of how words and actions can hurt others. I know it’s difficult at times, but respect is a quality that can take you far. This includes respect for elderly, respect for your peers and, most importantly, respect for yourself.

I’ve seen lately what a lack of respect can do to relationships and even someone’s self esteem — it’s not pretty.

When I talk about respect for the elderly, I’m not just talking about the ones who live in retirement homes. This also pertains to people our parent’s age; basically, anyone who is older than us. I definitely understand the feeling you get when you’re trying to talk to someone of this age and they just don’t seem to get it. They have no idea what you’re saying, they think turtlenecks are trendy or they assume twerking is a disease side affect.

Trust me, I understand the frustration. But we still need to have patience. Adults see most people our age as malignant reckless teens. It’s this stereotypical generalization that we need to overcome. Prove to them you are more than that by maintaining a respectful demeanor. You’ll be surprised at how accepting adults will be.

Please, take me seriously on this next bit. When you lack respect for your peers, it only shows how immature you are. Using profanity is just immature. It proves you aren’t intelligent enough to find a better noun or adjective. On the outside, people may not show the hurt it causes, but it’s there. It’s one thing to tell someone how it is or give it to them straight, but have a little tact.

Treat people how you’d like to be treated. Respect is earned when it is given. Relationships are built on trust, honesty and kindness — without those in your life I can promise you’ll feel more alone than ever.

Respect for yourself is probably the hardest one to follow through with. It’s also the hardest one to preach on. Without saying it out loud, I think we can all agree that respecting ourselves is not as easy as it sounds.

I don’t think I’ve met a single person who is ever completely satisfied with themselves. Respect for yourself starts on the inside. Eating healthy is the best way to feel good about your body. Taking it easy on the alcohol is also productive. Most of you are going to think I’m crazy for saying it, but I truly believe having a kick-ass time is not dependent on the consumption of booze. It’s possible to have a great time without it. Drinking your worries away — and not to mention your calories — isn’t going to solve any problems. Don’t rely on an outside substance for your source of fun.

Secondly, be modest. Now, I’m not telling all the ladies to go out and buy tunics or only wear sweatshirts and T-shirts. Show off your beauty and your figure, but just realize that most men will treat you based on your appearance. It’s sad but true. You owe it to yourself to receive the respect you deserve.

Finally, be at peace with who you are. Whether that means you’re the Star Trek geek, the crazy cat lady or the one who collects socks, embrace it. Be happy with who you are. Because as soon as you do, others will too. It’s contagious.

Be kinder than necessary to everyone, because you never know what kind of battle they may be fighting. It’s true.

Respect can never lead you astray. It’ll help you get jobs, it’ll build relationships and it’ll make you a happier person — believe that. When respect is given it is also earned. It shows a level of maturity and compassion — two traits that far too few people lack these days, I’m afraid.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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