This weeks Spin Cycle is all about respect. Anything we want on respect. Hmmm.
What do you do when someone you respect does something that you don't respect? Do you immediately lose all respect? Do you try to justify their actions with acts from their past? Or do you look at the situation for what it's worth and realize that we're all infallible and we make mistakes from time to time? Do you start out respecting people, and then they lose your respect, or do people have to earn your respect through their actions and words?
For me, it depends on how I know you and what you represent in my life. If you're a politician and you have an affair? Meh. I'm not your wife. I didn't trust your political prowess on your ability to handle your private life. I decided based you your voting record or your campaign promises. If a politician doesn't come through on their promises? That's when they lose my trust. Same thing with sports players. I didn't admire Tiger Woods for his ability to maintain a home life. I admire his ability to play golf. His divorce is his business. Now if I were to find out he cheated while playing? Then I'd be upset.
I find it really interesting when people become personally vested in public figures. They feel betrayed when a sports figure does something illegal. Their faith is rattled when they find out a politician is dishonest. They respected those people as whole beings, and now that respect is shattered. I find that a tad unfair. If I've been thrust into the public eye for my ability to act in movies, then Joe Q. Public can judge just that, my ability to act in movies. My salary, my choices of roles are all up for grabs. But who I sleep with? How I choose to spend my free time? How do you earn the right to pass judgment on that simply for the price of a ticket? Don't get me wrong. I read a tabloid or two. But that doesn't make those folks my friends.
-> Side note: The above is why it amazes me when someone like Jenny McCarthy or Jim Carrey holds sway over whether or not folks vaccinate their kids. Yeah, they have a kid. But they aren't doctors. They're actors (and quite frankly, I don't even respect their acting). How do people have respect for them as authority figures in their child's health questions? Call me kooky, but I look to certified professionals for those things. Anyway... back to our regularly scheduled blog.->
It's gets a little touchier with friends. Friendship doesn't occur in neat little boxes. If a friend has questionable business dealings, or does something illegal, it does matter to our friendship, and maybe to my respect for them. Part of my value of them as a friend is their integrity and my ability to trust them. If I can't trust your choices I will have a hard time respecting you as a person. I do look at people as a whole, though. We all make mistakes. We all take the easy way out on occasion. You can't go around casting judgment on each individual action. And then there's the case for forgiveness. What do you consider forgivable transgressions and what rocks your faith in someone to the core. I think it depends on the situation and the friend.
In the end, respect is complicated. While it seems like a simple emotion, it's wrapped up in all sorts of other emotions. (did you notice that in most places in this blog the word respect could have been replaced with trust? That's just how respect goes.)
Have a great labor day. If you have a minute during your Earl Evasion (for the east coasters) go see Sprite's Keeper and have some respect!