Essays About Respect: Top 5 Examples and 8 Prompts

If you are looking for the next topic for your essay, read our helpful prompts and example essays about respect to get started.

Respect is a fundamental pillar in a harmonious society. At a young age, we are taught that everyone is deserving of respect and should likewise respect others, regardless of diverging beliefs, cultures, and origins. The underlying golden rule is never to do what we don’t want others to do to us.

However, as we grow older, we find it harder to respect people who go against our moral standards and social mores. Nevertheless, acknowledging people and their rights could already be a form of respect. But when people do not care to meet this bare minimum for respect, conflicts and crimes can ensue. 

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5 Essay Examples

1. On Self-Respect by Joan Didion

“To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect.”

Didion explores misplaced self-respect through her experience of not making it to Phi Beta Kappa and the experience of others. What has been primarily associated with flattering others, self-respect, to Didion, is a virtue that can be developed when we emancipate ourselves from the expectations of others. 

2. Respect, Trust And Partnership: Keeping Diplomacy On Course In Troubling Times by Ted Osius

“…[W]hen we show respect it has a big impact. Showing respect means figuring out what is really, truly important to our partners and taking that seriously. It costs America almost nothing and gets us almost everything.”

A former US ambassador to Vietnam shares that respect is a powerful tool to build and strengthen trading partners’ relationships. In the end, he suggests strengthening diplomacy with country partners, such as developing language and regional expertise.

3. The Respect Deficit by Richard V. Reeves

“Here is a much deeper kind of inequality, caused not by a lack of resources, but by a lack of respect. You might be much richer or poorer than I am. But if we treat each other with mutual respect, we are, relationally speaking, equal.”

The essay talks about relational equality and how the lack of it could undermine both the sense of respect for others and the self. It touches on how the world’s meritocratic system has furthered the divide between classes and driven respect away from their reach. The urgent goal is to restore the sense of respect amid the bustle of our daily motions in life.

4. The Emotional Attachment Of National Symbols by Karina Lafayette

“National symbols deserve respect not because they are static representations of unchanging ideals, but because they offer a focal point for diverse societies to express and navigate what it is that unites and represents them.”

Respect for national symbols is imperative. But when the approach turns to one that is resistant to prospects of modifying national symbols, then we are missing out on opportunities to re-evaluate and re-invent how we can best represent our collective ideals. Instead of treating national symbols as sacred icons impervious to change, the best way to respect them and what they represent is to brave the thorny road of change. 

5. Filipino Hospitality And Respect For The Aged by Kashiwagi Shiho

“When a Filipino child meets an older family member, the youth customarily greets them with a gesture called ‘mano po,’ taking the older relative’s hand and placing it on his or her own forehead to express profound respect for the elder.”

The essay thoroughly navigates how the Philippine society defends its elders, from the gestures of greeting to how the government, private sector, and non-profit organizations band together to support elders living alone. Other countries can learn from the Philippines’ experience in caring for their elders, especially in the quality care their nurses provide.

8 Thought-Provoking Prompts on Essays About Respect

1. How to Show Respect to Criminals

It is easy to respect those who have worked hard and are deemed as typically well-behaved. But what about criminals who are stereotyped as not showing respect to others, or working hard? Are they deserving of our respect? Answer these questions and determine whether criminals are provided decent facilities and programs that inspire them to change. You can also look into how police officers keep track of their value of life to avoid the abuse of power and putting an end to life with unnecessary force. 

2. Respect Vs. Love in Relationships

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In your essay, share the differences between respect and love and discuss which is more important in a relationship

Take a deep dive into the differences between respect and love and discuss which is more important in a relationship. But first, explain the two and provide narrative examples to demonstrate their contrasts.

For example, with love, one might be inclined to say, “I’m willing to change myself for you.” But with a respect-filled relationship, boundaries are drawn. Hence, people can live comfortably with their true selves without having to worry about losing a partner.

3. Showing Respect on Social Media

Social media encourages people to say what they wouldn’t otherwise say in the physical world primarily because of the anonymity that social media grants them. In your essay, describe the effects of disrespect on social media. Social experts observe that disrespect propels cancel culture and decreases our tolerance of people with differing views. Do you agree with this? Add in other observations you have about mutual respect, or the lack of it, on social media.

4. Respecting Indigenous Cultures

Indigenous groups call for recognition and respect for their land and rich cultures. In this prompt, cite the challenges in promoting respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.

For example, how does the government reconcile the need to preserve their traditions with the need to alter practices that negatively impact the environment? Write down what else the government can do to support indigenous groups. One example is ensuring their participation in deliberating their lands’ use to enable them to give free, prior, and informed consent.

5. How to Respect Data Privacy Rights

Data privacy is a fundamental human right, but our data can be easily harvested through every transaction and activity we make using our phones. This essay discusses the data privacy law in your country or state.

Write about the obligations the law has set for companies to sufficiently safeguard the personal data of their clients. Suppose you want to look at international data privacy standards. In that case, you can explore the General Data Protection Regulation, dissect its seven principles and find out how they play in the data privacy cycle from collection to disposal. 

6. What is Respect for Parents Day?

Respect for Parents Day is celebrated in the US every August 1 to recognize the importance of parents’ roles in their children’s lives and the larger society. Dedicate this essay to celebrating your parents. Share with readers the hard work they do to raise you while handling a job or a business to build your future. Briefly narrate the origins of Respect Your Parents Day and provide tips on how families can best spend this day.  

7. When Employees Do Not Feel Respected 

In the workplace, some bosses abuse their power, overstep their boundaries and forget the basics of respect. How does disrespect affect the motivation and productivity of workers? Mull over this question and try to enumerate the negative impacts of disrespect in the workplace. Then, with the support of research studies, find out what motivational methods managers can employ to reinforce employees positively and help them receive the respect they deserve.

8. Respect for Animals

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In your essay, hear the calls of advocacy groups combating the cruel practice of commoditizing animals or their parts for profit

Over the years, the call for respect has extended beyond humankind and to the animal kingdom. First, hear the calls of advocacy groups combating the cruel practice of commoditizing animals or their parts for profit. Track how far their efforts have progressed.

You can also look into the International Convention for the Protection of Animals, a proposed treaty to address all animal issues, and research how it has moved forward to fill in the gap of an international agreement to protect animals.

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Author

  • Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.