The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Respect me. See me.

Every relationship will contain an element of status. It is an individual’s idea of how and where he or she stands compared to the other. Status will involve a sense of superiority or inferiority. It will include the symbols they perceive as describing their status. This can be the way they present themselves or want to look at them, the reactions they expect from others, or how they’ll interpret reciprocity assumptions.

In status, people include everything that helps them perceive their self-worth and how others can contribute to it.

Consequently, status is all about the power they feel and want to feel.

Showing respect thus is the way we have to help others see their power as being secure with us. When people don’t show as much respect as expected, it is felt as an attack. When they show more respect than expected it is felt as destabilizing.

Showing respect thus happens as a means to show how someone belongs to the group. A frequent situation in conflicts thus is, that people will seek vengeance by being disrespectful. They try to find a way to hurt the other.

An important distinction to be made here is the one with recognition.

Recognition is there for us to see the other person and allow them to feel seen. It is our ability to touch others by reacting to their basic relationship needs and especially the one that they want us to address. Sometimes it is about seeing when they need support, want others to come to them, want to feel valued in the relationship. In other times it is about seeing their need for security, or, for example, for being accepted by someone dependable, stable, and protective.

Having the sense of being seen, receiving recognition, serves our sense of being. It is independent of status, however, it will contribute to having it.

Someone who is not receiving the recognition they long for will be challenged to feel being part of the given relationship or as able to contribute to it.

Which makes the difference between being respected and being recognized subtle and yet essential.

A way to perceive the difference is to pay attention if there is power play or if the person is in need of attention. The latter signals that people in the group lack safety, whereas the first indicates that there is ongoing aggression.


Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *