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The conversation begins with respect

Choosing your words carefully is not just a matter of semantics. It’s a matter of caring enough about the people you talk to, to adopt a mode of expression that is as rich in compassion as it is in the passion you feel towards making your point.

It’s a practice that stems from a realization that there’s no point you can make that’s more important than the dignity of the person you’re talking to.

The problems we complain about, the demands we impose, the questions we ask, the truths we proclaim, the convictions we defend, the details we explain–they all take a back seat to the intrinsic nobility of the human soul.

Take respect out of the equation and all you have is a self-gratifying rant that, to borrow a phrase from Ravi Zacharias, “generates more heat than light.”

Consider St. Paul’s words in his letter to the people of Corinth: “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Here’s today’s two cents:

There’s always time for respect. If there isn’t enough time to figure out a way to communicate respectfully, there isn’t enough time to communicate, period.


T.K. Coleman

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. This is a great one! Respect can be the difference between actually getting the point across or just turning everything into a fight. I haven’t always used respect when talking with people, and sometimes I’ve been down right cold about what I had to say, but when I learned that respect might help it changed my entire communication systems.

  2. So often people focus on “winning” the conversation. So empty in the long run. I’m training to be a family mediator now. Mediation is all about maintaining integrity and fostering collaboration in both parties. This allows for more light than heat to be transpired.:)

    1. A family mediator? I never heard of that (apparantly I’ve been in a cave somewhere), but that sounds like a fun and highly need occupation. I like the sound of it. Great point about “winning.” This is something I see happening a lot when people argue. What’s your take on why we feel such a strong need to win? I’d love to hear your insight on that one. Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts, brennagee πŸ™‚ Cheers πŸ™‚ -TK

      1. You may be more familiar with the title, Divorce Mediator. Family Mediator is the new more PC version and in my opinion sounds nicer.;)
        Our egos and fear of losing (anything) drive our need to win. Anything that denies what we perceive to be our “self” is so threatening. I’m sure our innate desire to thrive also plays a part. I read somewhere that humans are naturally self oriented and competitive but we can be convinced to participate in a situation that results in a mutual win.

        1. Please pardon my delayed reply, Brenna. I HAVE heard the “Divorce Mediator” title before. Now it makes sense. I like your title better though. Not only is it more politically correct, but it also acknowledges the fact that family conflict is a reality that goes beyond husband and wife.

          I appreciate your thoughts on the ego and the sensation of being threatened. That makes a lot of sense. Perhaps, when we find ourselves feeling that way, we consult our sense of creativity and request a win-win solution. This is a practice that I am learning to work on more and more.

  3. Yes. Yes!!! Respect underlies everything good! I have tried to communicate with people who don’t find respect to be expedient to achieving their goals, whether that is defending something internal such as defensiveness, or external such as upper hand in a workplace. Difficult and personally costly. My goal is to learn to ACT not REACT by choosing my response/approach for respect and also effective communication. To try to bypass the US against THEM mentality that is so prevalent. Good post.

    1. Thank you and thank you, Ran πŸ™‚ I know exactly what you’re talking about! It can be so difficult to not rush into a defensive response, but the approach you’re referring to (act don’t react) is far more effective.

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