Clean Respect

I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling I may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat.” – James A. Garfield

When you refrain from judging others you find that they come to you wearing the judgments they’ve accumulated over the years. Whether they’ve judged themselves or been judged by others is irrelevant, the fact that they’ve accepted the judgment is the issue. It’s an obstacle you’ll face in your dealings with them.

The challenge, of course, to those who relinquish judgment is to find the least intrusive and imposing way to help others to escape the tenacious and stupefying clutches of judgment.

This is easier said than done. Judgment, whether self-pronounced or passed on by another, can graft so subtly onto the identity of the accused that he can no longer tell which part of him is real and which manufactured.

To help free them you must employ a variety of strategies. First and foremost, you must accord them respect in a way that only those who have come free of judgment can. Clean respect cuts through the Gordian knot fastened by judgment.

Clean respect says to those within its field of influence “I believe in you more than you believe in yourself,” without saying as much. It is more an atmospheric influence than a phrase or a look, an intensifying firmament which is at once irresistible and unmovable. Those who yield to clean respect are drawn outward and upward, while those who reject it are repelled utterly and occasionally violently.


7 thoughts on “Clean Respect

  1. Zach

    I love that there are changes that we can make within ourselves that allow us a respite from judgement’s constant struggle. There is no need to judge others, just as there is no need to worry how other people judge us. If we do our best to learn what is the right thing to do and we then actually do it, we can remove one of life’s greatest limitations.


  2. Joshua

    This came to point through our 12 year old daughter today, loud and clear when she indicated that the greatest challenge she currently faces… (her words)
    “was a direct result of Judgements, made by fellow classmates from last year, that still lingered in her head, and the problem was she believed them!”
    As resolution, we are going to engage in a nightly read of “The Courage to Face Ingratitude” together. I do believe in her far more than she believes in herself right now, I am determined that will change.
    Thanks Gregg, for the guiding light!


  3. Ricardo B.

    The respect that is quite commonly offered is laced with self-centeredness and it’s more like a surface flattery than genuine esteem. The politics of low-level human function gets so entangled this way that you are bound to screw up sooner or later and say the wrong thing to someone as you are trying to please another or gain someone else’s respect.

    Authentic respect regards a higher standard, pays little attention to reputation and looks into the heart of the matter. It forges unspoken bonds of trust and loyalty, not to any one person for yet again it is not self-centered, but to the belief that we all have it in us to be amazing people bearing great and sorely needed gifts to the world, for how can our collective condition improve if it does not change through people? There’s too much at stake in my opinion to play around with this.


  4. Kierney

    I loved your point about respect being a key to helping others become free from judgment. It certainly is something you can feel through the atmosphere of another and we should never underestimate its ability to inspire change.


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