What is Respect?

Respect means you care enough to think about how you impact others.

"What is respect" is a big concept to grasp. You might hear about having respect or showing respect. At the heart of respect is caring. Respect is caring how words and actions may impact others. Respect has two parts: 1) having respect for someone because of how their actions impact others and 2) showing respect by changing your actions to be sure you don't have a negative impact.

Respect is caring enough to consider how words and actions impact others.

  • Having respect is when you feel good about someone because of how they act.
  • Showing respect is when you care how your actions impact others.

For more about respect, scroll down:

  • What is having respect?
  • What is showing respect?
  • Examples of respect
  • Why is respect important?

What is having respect?

Having respect means you feel positively toward a person because of how they affect others. For example, you may have respect for

  • a person that treats other people kindly
  • someone who worked hard to achieve something
  • someone who overcame a challenge

You can have respect for others, and you can have respect for yourself. Self-respect means you feel good about who you are, the types of choices you make, and the impact you have on others.

What is showing respect?

Showing respect to someone means you act in a way that shows you care about others' feelings and well-being. Showing respect for others include things like

  • not calling people hurtful names
  • using a polite tone even when you're upset
  • thinking about how whether what you want to do will hurt someone else
poster about treating others with respect

Examples of what respect is

  • You admire (respect) a historical figure who stood up for what she believed in, even when it was hard.
  • You are quiet in a library to show that you care about (respect) others' need to read without interruption.
  • You follow your parents' rules to show them you care (respect) how they feel about the situation.
  • You don't call people names because you care about (respect) their feelings.
  • You don't hit or otherwise hurt people because you care about (respect) their well-being.
  • You dress, speak, and act in a way that shows you care about what you know is right and safe, because you care about (respect) yourself and your well-being.
  • You don't interfere with other people's right to look, think, or act differently than you because you care about (respect) their feelings and well-being.

Why respect is important

To understand why respect is important, think about what life would be like if we don't treat each other with respect. Since respect is about caring whether our words and actions have a hurtful affect on other people, in a world without respect, no one would care whether they were hurting other people. They might do things that are dangerous or mean and not care if other people were harmed.

All of us in society need to treat each other with respect if we want to feel safe and live peacefully together. Respect is important because it means we treat others the way we want to be treated. So if we don't treat others kindly, how can we expect them to be kind in return?