Self respect breeds respect for others

By now we have seen all the devastation that the earthquake and tsunami created in northern Japan. When I first watched it ,I felt as if I was watching the film 2012. It was so surreal that I couldn’t quite comprehend the magnitude of the situation. Many of us have experienced tragic circumstances, but how many of us have suddenly found ourselves without a home or had to experience the knowledge that we may never find those we love and treasure? It is almost impossible to comprehend how one can live through such circumstances without turning into a raving lunatic.

Over the ensuing days what truly touched me was how the Japanese have not only lived through the horrors imposed on them, but how they have done it with such grace and dignity. They stand in line for hours patiently and with great respect for each other while waiting to get water, food or shelter. There has been no looting, or outbursts of anger. Yes, some of this relates to how they have been acculturated.

The island of Japan is small in comparison to their population and so they have had to learn to live in close quarters peacefully. The foundation for their behavior is rooted in learning patience and civility is at the core of their being. We can only hope as the days go by that they will be able to sustain these behaviors in the wake of what appears to be the possibility of a nuclear meltdown.

I wonder what we would do when faced with the same situations? I fear the response would not be the same. Over the years I have seen our culture slowly become less civil towards each other. The manners that were so much a part of my life and my peers seem to be slowly disappearing. I may sound like an old dinosaur but I remember a time when chewing gum in someone’s face was considered disgusting! Now many people are not only chewing gum but they do it with their mouths wide open snapping away in between conversing with you. Eye contact is practically a lost art as the constant need to look down at Blackberry’s for new texts or e-mails has become more important than talking to the person your with.  Oh, there is much more on this subject, but the one constant we must realize about civility is that how we treat others really speaks to how we feel about ourselves.

Self respect breeds respect for others and that is at the core of a civilized society.

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

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6 Responses to Self respect breeds respect for others

  1. kadja1 says:

    Loretta, thank you for your enlightening post. I feel that if more people would realize that all things on this planet are indeed connected, they would not only have more respect for what we are given to us in nature by it, but would respect each other more as well. There are lessons that can be learned from this event, and hopefully America will catch on. We saw examples of what COULD occur here after Hurricane Katrina. It is time to wake up and start changing ourselves from within, I think.

  2. annette143 says:

    You are right about the difference in our cultures.
    I’m remembering the blackouts in New York both in the 1970’s and more recently :/
    I just saw [on CNN] there is a nuclear plant near Manhattan at a place called Indian Point. It’s the same type and it is only 18 ft above the level of the river…
    I heard, “If there is a problem they could not possibly evacuate the people.”
    about the times we are living in ..
    this article by Mundane Astrologer, Dennis Sutton is extremely interesting} http://www.light.org/quarterly.cfm read pages 11-14

    • Thank you Annette for always having such great comments. Love, Loretta.

      • annette143 says:

        *winks* it’s your video keeping be buoyant: “How Serious Is This?!”
        I keep watching it over and over, it’s so full of positivity :o)
        What an exciting time to be alive!

        Lots of Love and hugs 2 U!
        ∞∆∞

  3. Great post, Loretta! Thank you! And what you said is very true. They are a very dignified and respectful people. There is a lot we Americans could learn from them.

    I really believe that is why we have catastrophes. To remind us just how much a part of each other we really are. It seems like it’s only when we have events like this that people all over the world will come together to help, and it doesn’t matter what a person looks like, their religion, color, or walk of life. We’re in it together. Then when things are going really well, we tend to forget again (we can sure have really short memories, huh?).

    Thank you again! Sure do appreciate you!

    Karen Langford
    Cookeville, TN

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