Skip to content
April 22, 2013 / Dale Melchin

The Bushido Code: Respect (禮 rei)

Respect: according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is a high or special regard for something.  This happens on 4 levels.

To superiors.  In life we all have someone to whom we must give account.  Whether we realize this or not this is true.  Regardless of what your tradition is every tradition teaches us that inhabitants of the Universe will have to give an account to its Creator.

More practically speaking, we give account to family members (parents) We have bosses to whom we must give account.  And even if we are a business owner and we are the autocrat, we have to give account to our customers.  This accounting needs to be couched in respect.  Regardless of our personal feelings toward the superior, we must render respect to them.  With parents, we must respect them b/c they are source of our biological life.  With our bosses, we depend upon them to lead us in our jobs, and to sign our paychecks.  With customers, even if we are in a disagreeing or escalated situation, we must treat them with respect, because we depend upon them for our revenue.  Even if we have to say no to them or do something they don’t like.  Respect is still central.  And regardless of our feelings, respect is a choice we must make.

To Subordinates

Not all of us have subordinate in every sphere.  We may have informal subordinates we if we are informal leaders in various spheres.  If you are in a family your subordinates are your children.  Even if you are a man who is leading your wife is not your subordinate, she is your equal and colleague.  In that family situation you must still respect the personhood of your children.  While they may have to give an account to you of their actions, and render respect to you as a father or mother.  You must still respect their personhood even in discipline and guidance.  The respect that you give to them will be paid back when they are in their teenage years with being able to lead them.  Even if there is a revolt, if you keep investing that love, and respect to their personhood, eventually they will pay it back.

In work.  If you are a formal leader if you respect your subordinates their abilities, they will give it back.  I realize not all of them may give it back.  Some employees may act like victims or spoiled children.  In those situations you have to set a timeline for them to get better and if need be, let them go.

If you are an informal leader.  You must walk your talk.  This is also true of formal leaders.  And in fact if it is your goal to be a formal leader, having a following that loves you and respects will in fact lead to that position in one form or another.

To Equals

This should go without saying, but its not going to. 😀  We must respect our equals.  In this case we would help each other, but at the same time you must enforce boundaries.  Having a strong platform of equals will make you and if you fail to build this platform it will break you because their collective perception leads to your reputation.  Even if respect isn’t given from the other you need to give it.  Because I know this is trite, but the universe will pay you back.

To yourself

This is perhaps the most important. If you do not respect yourself, you will not believe in yourself and if you do not believe in yourself, you will not perform.  Now I realize that some self-doubt is fuel for the fire.  But any kind of personal disrespect toward yourself is absurd and will seep into and poison your endeavors.  Even if you don’t see the results right now.  Even if you don’t believe in a Higher Power, you must believe in or have faith in yourself and lend respect to yourself, so you can perform.


Respect is a central virtue and like all others, it can be cultivated by removing the distortion and putting in more intelligent and rational thinking through meditation or simple rumination.

What would more respect in any sphere make possible for you?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: