black white of dad squatting down to talk to little toddler wearing his big cowboy hat


When people don’t “listen” or respect each other’s words, it can disable relationships, be disheartening and cause conflict. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at how to be heard and feel respected in within relationships.

QUIZ: Am I being disrespected?

Answer yes or no to the following three questions.

1) Do I repeat myself to or nag others?

2) Do I feel irritated when people don’t do what I ask them to?

3) Do I feel powerless or unable to change this situation?

4) Has this situation occurred for year(s)?

If we answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it’s time to up our ante on respect!

Respect yourself

As we’ve probably all heard, the only person we can change is ourself. If we answered “yes” to any of the quiz questions, it shows that we aren’t respecting or listening to ourself. If we respected our own words, thoughts and feelings, would we continue to repeat ourself? Reminders are understandable on rare occasion between two adults. (Employees who are paid to nag and disempowered mothers who believe nagging is their job don’t count). The most respectful way to treat others and ourself is to speak our request once. When we respect ourself in this way, at least we have that, regardless whether others choose to be respectful. Self-respect is worth more than its weight in gold and allows us to sleep well at night.

Speaking of Gold

An associate once said to me, “I can’t build a gold castle from a pile of (dirt).” We may be dealing with adults who don’t mind living in and with their dirt and they’re dirty from it all. We cannot hope to build a gold(God)-standard relationship with someone who doesn’t place value on his or her standard of character or standard of living. If this is the case, it may be best to pray and/or walk away.

Disrespectful children who don’t listen, often have disrespectful parent(s)

Parents are the example that children follow. Parent(s) may feel guilty (disrespect themselves) because of something in their own behavior and the way they’ve raised their child, then “over-compensate” by “spoiling” the child with things, umpteen chances, attention, etc.. If this hits home, here’s a link to a free article about how to forgive yourself and free yourself to have a more respectful relationship with your child(ren) .

Alternatively, parent(s) may knowingly or unknowingly judge their child as being incapable of succeeding, thereby coddling and hobbling the child’s ability to grow up and respect themselves and others. In this case, nagging is often an attempt to get the child to behave. If we nag our children, is this respectful behavior? Would we nag someone who we know is intelligent? Kind? Caring? Sensitive? Thoughtful? Generous? Bright and brilliant? If we’re nagging, it says a lot about what we believe about ourselves and the person we nag.

Offer clear consequences & rewards instead of nagging

After we’ve taken ourselves out of the “nag” zone by not proffering reminders like Altoids, we are free to simply make a request with consequences and rewards. For example, here are two statements, one made to 10-year-old-son Johnny, and another made to Jim, a spouse. “Johnny, you did a great job on your school project and I’m so proud of you for that (reward), and I’m also really proud that you got up early and took the trash out before you went to school (reward). Next time, make sure the lid covers the top of the outdoor garbage bin so the stray dogs don’t make a picnic in the driveway and on the Volvo. If the bin is left uncovered next time, you’ll have to clean up the driveway and wash my car immediately after school (consequence).”

And to the husband, “Jim, I love that you gave me earrings (reward), the colors are stunning (reward)! They will look gorgeous with my blue dress (reward). If I had a necklace with lots of big, white pearls, I’d disrobe immediately and stay home (reward).” (In this case, there is no reason to offer a negative consequence to Jim, as there was no negative consequence from his gift.)

Almost too easy?

Making clear requests, consequences and rewards is an easy way to live. No struggle, no whining, fighting or drama. It is what it is—straightforward and sets the relationship up for success. Everybody knows what’s expected and how to win. If it sounds frightening to live this way, then conflict may be a part of the “common comfort” drama in your household. There are three main reasons why we may be afraid to set healthy standards.

First, if we offer to go through conflict, struggle and “effort” to show people how much we love them by nag-nag-nagging. Is this really how we want to show our “love?”

Second, if we are afraid of the consequences our child will give US after receiving rules, rewards and consequences—like lashing out in anger, retaliation, etc. In this situation, setting clear requests, rewards and consequences may be more difficult at the onset, but with stick-to-itiveness, it resolves itself in the end.

Third, some parents unconsciously don’t want to empower their children to the level that they’re fully independent, responsible and can care for themselves, because then the parent will no longer feel needed.

Can you respect yourself and others more?

Is it time for a cool change in your world? Are you ready to love yourself enough to be the respected, strong and courageous person you want to be, and not a nag who complains about nagging and doing everybody else’s tasks? Let’s start today, by meaning what we say.

Set some standards that are worthy of rewards and consequences

What are some standards that YOU believe are worth upholding? What standards make you feel empowered, strong, healthy and well-cared for? Write them down and start with you. You set the rules, you set the rewards and you set the consequences. For me, I choose character traits as my standards, such as: being genuine, honest, caring to my soul and the souls of others, health & enjoyment. I have a long list of rewards, which are almost always motivating enough that I do not need consequences. Some of my rewards include: time in nature, swimming, learning through books or YouTube, theater & movie performances, dancing, cooking for gatherings, sometimes gifts, massages, taking a bath, walking my cat, chatting with friends, and great big hugs with laughter! Some consequences include: prostrations, reflecting on the effects of a poor choice, forgiveness, doing tasks that can be challenging to me—like paperwork, weeding and sometimes patience.

Will You?

Are you willing to respect yourself, others and your children more by setting some standards? Share your thoughts and feelings so we may grow in strength and willpower together …

Always with love,

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