Respect: An Essential Element in Relationships

Respect is reflected in actions and behavior toward another person, animal, or entity. It’s considered a fundamental moral value, and a lack of respect can undermine any relationship. On a personal level, disrespect evokes anger, fear, and the potential for violence that blurs boundaries between us and other primates. Even when we might be open-minded and nonjudgmental of people in the world at large, that sense of respect might not extend to the people with whom we’re closest. “Familiarity breeds contempt” is a cliché that too often applies. Respect is most difficult to maintain in intimate relationships because we know the person for their negative as well as positive attributes.

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