A Dictionary definition of Respect is; “Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

In less “civilised” times and cultures, being rude to people could mean your death. Very simple and small slights could end in a duel or murder by the person who feels they were wronged.

I have worked in a hospital for a number of years and meet people on one of the worst days of their lives. Sometimes people are quite rude, violent and aggressive towards me. This is a rare occurrence but can often overshadow all of the wonderful people I have helped over the years.

How I choose to respond in these situations are the only thing entirely within my control. Empathy is always the best path. Words are easily the best and worst weapons. Easily misunderstood. Quick to cut. They can be bent and have double meanings.

A quick wit and a jovial nature can turn someone who is verbally aggressive into your best friend. Particularly if you don’t offend easily and have a self deprecating response. Self reflection on what it is to be offended and the situation you find yourself in allows you to rise above the pettiness of others and not be brought down by small slights.

Responding in a way that someone does not expect and humanising yourself and the situation. Waiting for a response from the other person and being polite in the face of their arrogance can throw the disagreements into a very pleasant situation.

Violence can also be thought of in this regard. It does require a certain mindset and some martial training but if someone attacks you with full force and you are unprepared for that battle who is really at fault?

Every time I am within arms reach of anybody I have chosen to be there. They have every chance of attacking me if they so choose. My job requires that I be in close proximity to someone who is injured and like any wounded animal may attack. I choose how to enter that space.

This “Covid” pandemic requires that I wear plastic armour which protects me from an unseen threat that may or may not exist on this particular interaction but given the nature of the virus I have a higher probability of contracting it. I choose to enter that space too.

Through luck, empathy and training all situations and interactions can be seen in similar regards.

As a space to find empathy and respect for those around you.