Desire for anything allows that thing to control you. Respect is no exception. Drop and abandon all and any cultures, gestures, customs, rituals, signs—any method of “respect” that you revere. If a motion, word, or hand signal means something “offensive”, eradicate such concern from your mentality and concern. Don’t use any custom to offend others and don’t recognize any custom as offensive to you.
Choose which battle you plan to fight. Will you play the game of “expecting respect” or will you “win”? Will you ask everyone to pretend that you don’t need to learn or will you ditch your pride so you can learn from everyone? Will you seek recognition or will you recognize what you seek? Will you lay down and cry when your rights get snubbed or will you lay down and snub your right to cry?
Respect yourself always, but remember that self-respect includes not caring about respect returned to you. Respectable people know that respect is to be given, not sought. There is a difference between someone who makes disrespectful gestures toward others and someone who genuinely disdains others. Respectable people know the difference. Disdain is the problem.
A person who makes disrespectful gestures is no threat. There is no reason to confront or “keep pride” merely because someone smacks your face or challenges your turf.
However, people who harbor disdain will often outwardly display a perfect choreography of “respectful” gestures. Their disdain surfaces when it’s time to trust other people’s testimony, give others the space to make their own decisions, behave as if accomplished people are competent people, and remain silently seated while other people handle their own affairs. People who harbor disdain will make autocratic demands or toss out provocative taunts. They genuinely believe that they are better than others and if you slight their great honor, they will throw a tantrum like a brat.
“If you’re so good, why don’t you do it already?” is a taunt. “Just do it and don’t care what other people think,” is an encouragement. Notice the difference.
Don’t fear those with disdain, but beware of who they truly are, don’t become what they are, and by no means covet them.