He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded.
(William Shakespeare)

IN OUR INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE, IT HURTS TO FIND OUT THAT SOMEONE HAS NOT “REGARDED” US. Like Shakespeare’s cuckoo, we may have been “heard,” but no attention was paid. For most people, “I disagree with you” is considerably less demeaning than “Your existence means so little that it would be a waste of my time to take any notice of you.” This has nothing to do with pride or vanity. It is simply a fact that we all need a bit of regard.

Attention. In its most basic sense, regard simply means awareness, and the fact is, this is one of the greatest things we can do for those around us. This is, needless to say, the exact opposite of rudeness, which seems to be on the increase in our culture. Rather than being rude, we need to be saying (either in word or deed) to those with whom we cross paths, “I am aware of your presence, and I regard you as a fellow human being. Is there anything I can do to help you?”

Esteem. If we say that one person has a “high regard” for another, we are talking about more than careful attention — we mean that the first person appreciates and respects the second. Not everybody engages in honorable conduct, to be sure, but we ought to be looking for every possible chance to bestow honor. We should want to have the highest regard for other people that the facts will allow.

Good wishes. We don’t see it much anymore, but I still like the old-fashioned “best regards” (or “kindest regards” or “warm personal regards”) way of closing letters. In this sense, “regards” are the expression of our good wishes for someone else, and having good wishes for others is surely something that most of us need to do more of.

To have regard for others, in any of the three senses we’ve discussed, is an enriching experience. We don’t do it just for what we can get out of it, but having regard is like giving in general: it is more blessed to give than to receive. All of us like to be regarded, and it’s encouraging when that happens, but if we are giving others the gift of our respectful attention, we will find it a blessing to have done so.

“When we honestly consider the well-being of others, we become truly rich in the deepest sense” (Denis Waitley).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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