Respect. Its more than just an Aretha Franklin song. Respect is one of the most important things to a man. Respect encompasses his whole life.

According to Webster’s, respect means the following; “to feel or show honor or esteem for, consideration or regard.” In male interpersonal relationships respect is the currency. In a romantic relationship it is said that a woman needs love and a man needs respect. If she doesn’t respect you she will leave you. If she doesn’t respect you, you should move on. If she doesn’t respect you, there will be no fire or passion in the relationship, you will be “friends” forever.

To me there are three kinds of respect: baseline respect, earned respect and self respect.

Let’s start with self respect. People will treat you the way you feel you should be treated. Subconsciously you project your beliefs about yourself like a bright neon sign. People will respond to you accordingly. Much of how you feel about yourself comes down to your choices; how you behave, how you hold yourself, how well you challenge yourself and whether you do things that increase or decrease your T levels. A man must respect himself first. A man must behave like a man, plain and simple. He must pursue masculine pursuits. A man must not allow himself to be disrespected. A man must set goals and boundaries. If a man doesn’t respect himself no one else will. Self respect shows outwardly in posture, tone of voice and confidence. Strive to earn your own respect.

Baseline respect is what every living person gets. No matter what a person does, no matter how much we disagree with them or dislike them, they get the baseline of respect due to a person. At a point in my life I was the General Manager for a construction supply company. We had a large number of Mexican laborers coming in to purchase material. I had a great crew who all had respect for other people. What I realized was that when a new Mexican worker would come in they would be guarded, some downright hostile. After they encountered my sales crew they would change. They would usually leave our business with a smile and come back. The reason? Well, my guess is that they were treated like crap at our competitors’ lumber yards. They were treated with respect at our place. Its amazing what happens when you take the time to learn someone’s name and treat them like you would want to be treated. The other manifestation of baseline respect is the respect given to nature and animals. Don’t trash nature. Don’t harm animals. If it is necessary to kill an animal do it quickly with as little pain to the animal as possible.

Earned respect is the higher form of respect. This is what we as men strive for. Earned respect is acting in a way, not just talking, that commands the respect of other men. In the military, a new guy is just that; the new guy. He must do the crap jobs, he must undergo crappy treatment, he must prove himself worthy, by his deeds, of being part of the brotherhood. We should give baseline respect to all, yet never rely on it for ourselves. Respect is the pinnacle of masculine virtues. The funny thing about earned respect is that you cannot seek it, because at that point you are actually living for other people’s opinions. The way to gain earned respect is to seek your own self respect. Make masculine choices and commit to progressing in masculine virtues. As Jack Donovan calls it “be good at being a man”. Believe me, people will notice, and lets admit it, we all like that. In this case it will be a side benefit, the ultimate reward will be liking and respecting ourselves.