On being popular, loved, feared or respected.

When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
Lao Tzu
I have heard this time and time again, men wanting respect. Yet the way they go about it or the examples they use to describe the respect they want simply confuses me. Then I realize that these men are confused on what respect is, being blinded by misguided perceptions. So let’s start with what is Respect.
Respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Seems simple enough, so what’s the confusion? Most men confuse being popular, or being loved, or even being feared as a way to achieve respect. To be honest, NONE of those things produce respect on their own. Let’s see each of them.

Popularity, the brass ring of every high school student. Popularity simply means that a lot of people know who you are. That’s it, nothing more. If you think popularity means you get respect, you are diluting yourself. Just look at reality TV, or some actors, or even some politicians. Are they really respected just because they are popular? If anything, their popularity sets them up for public ridicule. It’s what you do with your popularity is what might, emphasis on might, set you apart.

Love, the great mystical force that fixes everything in the world. Tell that to a broken-hearted person. The sad reality is that love does not equal respect. We see this in every abusive relationship. They might love each other, but in the most unhealthy way possible. Love and Respect need to walk hand in hand to lead a proper life, but unfortunate for many people, this is not always the case.

Fear. If they fear me, they will respect me. That has to be the most horrifying idea anyone can have. Its entire basis is on threatening someone into submission. The reality is they don’t respect you. If anything they will hate you, and the first chance they have, they will get even for all the suffering you caused.

So how do you go around looking for respect? You don’t. You simply do Good. You simply become better at what you do. And you simply become the best man you can be. Don’t look for respect to compensate for insecurities. Your actions and your words must speak louder than your need for praise, and certainly louder than other people's excuses. And people will hear these actions and then they will respect you.