Respect is the most important building block of the ABCs. Respect is a pattern of behavior found in healthy relationships. You have to give respect in order to get it, and it's something everyone deserves.
People who respect each other trust and support each other and value each other's independence. They also have the freedom to be themselves, talk honestly and freely, and make decisions and compromises together. They respect boundaries and encourage each other to spend time with friends and family.
The best way to be respectful is by making sure you respect yourself. For example, you should have opinions and express them. You should also feel good about the relationship. You shouldn't feel pressured to do something just because it seems like everyone else is doing it or because someone else is trying to get you to do something.
Show respect not only with your actions but also with your words. Belittling, put-downs and unreasonable accusations are forms of verbal and emotional abuse. They are not a part of a healthy relationship.
Examples of someone being disrespectful include:
- Calling you stupid, ugly or fat — in front of others or privately.
- Ignoring you when certain people are around.
- Texting or calling you constantly.
- Being jealous of everyone else in your life.
- Needing to know where you are at all times.
How does respect fit into the ABCs? You can have and give more respect through:
- Awareness — Be aware that you deserve respect whether or not you are being respected.
- Balance — Have mutual respect for the relationship and for one another.
- Choices — Make conscious choices that are respectful of yourself, your relationship and whoever else is involved.
Last Reviewed: October 2019