It’s unconditional – in its first and obvious avataar. Because it streams from a certain perception of what you see. Respect, unlike the other mangled words in the English language, remains unadulterated. We can chose to make many meanings of the word, yet, the core of it remains untouched and pure.
While most folks who read this post will disagree, there is no one way of demonstrating respect. Is the person who chides you at every questionable instance respectful of you and your actions? Which further begets the question – what do they respect? Your actions? Or you – as a person? Further, do the respect only the intentions and the gains of your actions? Or, if they do understand it at all, do they respect the philosophy of it all? Do they subscribe to that philosophy? Or is it sweet glossy lip-service?
Respect, to my mind is one of the few unconditional emotions of all. The moment you question it – by any non-objective parameter – it is lost – forever.
And then, it so happens, if you are ever (god forbid) able to experience it first hand that you discover that the what you have experienced as respect is never ever a factor of who you are; but a factor of where and what you are. Watching a funny – almost senseless – film like Johnny English – treats you to this phenomenon. Within what you consider your closest coterie, you live a chance of living the life of a persona non grata.
But it is a good life to go through – because it becomes your own personal “Buddha” moment. Where, you become free of the bondage of being a respected for something that you held, rather than something that you are.
To that sense, I salute. For it has reminded me of who I am.