The Humility of Disrespect

A funny thing happens when we are forced to work with other people for more than three-quarters of a year (yes, for me, that's working with temperamental high school students) - either we thrive together or we dissolve. 

But why?

It's hard to imagine that we can allow something so basic to overcome our 'civilized' lives, but almost like clockwork, it seems to seep its way like a poison into our veins. It continues until we are lost in the effects of its aftermath. 

But there's a lesson to be learned in these types of breaking down - lessons that allow us to mend relational wounds or work harder to make sure it doesn't happen again. They are lessons that I have had to deal with both this year and in years know, being a teacher and a basketball coach. It's something I always hate, but kids - most of all - need to learn that being an adult means, not only fixing the mistakes you make as you go, but making sure that you can do better the next time a similar situation arises.

This is what I do for a living - help students who think they're adults actually become adults. 

So here's the point...

Disrespect always hurts. There's no way around it. When someone can't see the reasons why you are doing what you are doing, it's hard to understand why your relationship with them should move forward. 90% of the time, it should. That other 10%? Well, there are always extraneous circumstances that can't be controlled.

But there are some moments that hurt more than others - a snicker, a roll of the eyes, a sly comment behind your back - but how do we overcome that feeling of offense and keep our eyes on the end goal? Some would say you can't. Give it up. Others would say give them a chance, then if they show their true colors, let them go. And yet, others would say hold on tight until you can't anymore.

I believe there's humility in disrespect. Not for the disrespect-er, but for the one being disrespected. Everyone has moments that they wish they could take back. We have lapses. It's a part of being human. I let it eat me alive sometimes when I shouldn't. I have to remember that it's not me. When you come in contact with someone, we only have one piece of the story. Whatever is happening in our lives at any given moment plays a giant part in how we feel, how we treat others, and why we do the things we do. Once we accept that little nugget of information, everyone's discrepancies seem to fall by the wayside.

See, if you think through the problems you are dealing with at any given time, you'll realize there's a reason for why everything happens. Take a step back, accept that there are limitations to our lives and the lives of the people we are responsible for, and clarity will somehow make its way into your perspective. 

In those moments, there is humility. In humility, there is understanding.