Respect is a much needed component of communication. If you have ever had a conversation with someone who doesn't have any respect for you, or you may not have had much respect for them. You can compare this to a conversation you had with someone where both parties respect each other greatly and you can clearly see the point I'm trying to make. But the line for respect and disrespect is one that is not very clear.
What exactly is respect or to be respectful?
We all know the words and feel as though we know what they mean. But there are many times when we want to show respect for one and by doing so we disrespect another. I think the problem in this lies in the fact that we take things personally and not for what it really is. Facts are facts and sometimes we need to learn to accept the facts and move on and not feel disrespected.
There are many of us who do our best to respect others. Or at least try not to disrespect them. Sometimes by doing this, the other party will disrespect us. The main reason for this in my opinion is we are not accepting and or acknowledging the fact that we deserve respect in return. We all deserve respect. Its a two way street. Of course we need to show respect to others if we expect them to respect us back. There may be times that we need to say, "Hey, I'm trying to show you some respect, How about a little in return". This will show that we have self-respect. We need to respect ourselves if we expect others to respect us as well.
How about the times we don't tell people the things they should hear because we don't want to hurt them or we think they might misunderstand? We feel we are being respectful by not saying and hurting them. But we are really disrespecting them by hiding this from them. Hidden facts are a very disrespectful thing, especially when you are communicating something to someone or your horse. They deserve to have all the facts.
So how does all this relate to communication?
Well communication is used by all forms of life to communicate our wants, needs and ambitions. Many species play games with their communications to gain an upper hand, but none more than the human race. So much purposeful disrespect is shown by humans its sickening. We see it very clearly in Politicians and Business men. In commercials and advertisements everywhere. We see all forms of slander adds, not giving all the facts, trying to get us to their side or to buy their product. This all plays on our own self-respect, making us feel like we have to make a definitive choice. In many ways it takes so much away from us if we fall for any of it. Taking sides closes our minds and blocks the paths to understanding. By not allowing ourselves to see the different views of others, and or discrediting them, we lose out on comparisons that would lead to better understanding. Many of us jump on a band wagon and join the cause, even if it is a demise to humanity. This in turn breeds more disrespect. Sometimes through retaliation from the other side but mostly because people want to feel like they are liked by others so they join in. The disrespectful behavior becomes the most important part of the communication so they can tip the scales in their favor and persuade us to think in that way.
I see this in the horse world as well. There are many Trainers and Instructors out there. All of them have something to share with us. Many are very similar in their concepts and techniques. It bothers me a lot when I hear another person say discrediting or disrespectful things about someone who works to help others. Especially when it is someone else in the same field. To me its not that they are knocking a person down, I see through all that and seek the facts. Its more that I see a person who has little to no self respect, and that saddens me. The fact that they want others to think they are better than the person they are knocking says real loud and clear that they are insecure, or in desperate need to show that they know something about the subject or topic. Even though the way they understand it is just different than the person they are running off about. If we have enough respect to try and understand other points of view it will help us in the long run by giving us another path to better understanding. To me there is no one person better than anyone else. Regardless of skill level. I have learned as much from my students, (some of which were very green and inexperienced) as I have from very experienced trainers. We all have something to share, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We just need to learn where to look to find understanding. You would be amazed at some of the places it shows up. Sometimes understanding of one thing comes from something you would think is totally unrelated. Sometimes the path to understanding is covered up by things we can't see through. But if we look for it we will find it. It truly is everywhere you look.
So why did I go through all that?
Well us humans we tend to carry this into our work with our horses. Not showing them enough respect. We tend to go in and act as if we know it all and they need to listen. We can be so arrogant without even trying. Its learned behavior and getting worse as generations come up behind us. It should all start with having self respect. Self respect comes from confidence and knowledge and helps us find understanding; When we understand that we have the ability and responsibility to provide for the horses needs, that leads to respecting the horse. Then we move to respecting the fact that the horse has every right to have self-respect and to demand respect from us.When they do, they will do the same for us. Then the cycle can continue. Each time it does we gain more respect, better communication and more understanding.
We can respect them by evaluating and being aware of their needs and providing for them. This is more than just giving them food, shelter, and water. They have emotional needs as well and we should provide for those needs. We do that by listening to them. They can't tell us verbally but we can learn to read them. They are always telling us something. Sometimes many things all at once. The more I do this the more it amazes me how much they say to us and we just didn't understand. In most cases this is from our lack of awareness and acknowledging respect for them.
An example of how better results come through respect.
Have you ever worked at a place or been in a situation where one person suggests something and its ignored while someone else could suggest something even more ridiculous and it would be accepted? This would be an example of a person having more respect for one over the other. Even though in this situation it isn't warranted.
I gave the example above to show that if there is a mutual respect for each other, then you can ask things that may otherwise be ignored. Your conversations can go in almost any direction and not be dismissed as ridiculous. This when it comes to horses will give them so much try and open the lines of communication like you never imagined. A simple concept that will get your horse to respect you more is,"Encourage don't Demand" Give them the respect to choose and think things out for themselves. Just remember you may need to gently guide them there. We discussed this in our last post, There Are No Wrong Answers"
I hope many people get to read this and it makes sense. I also hope others have more to add to this through the comment section in ways that help us all make the world a better place.
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Thanks for reading.