Respect is a basic need?

Isuru Pamuditha
6 min readSep 19, 2017


Respect. Is it actually a basic human need? First of all, let me tell you a story about Sigmund Freud.

He is one of the most renowned Psychologists in history. Some name him as one of the founding fathers of psychology even though Wilhelm Wundt is known as the father of psychology. Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind, especially involving the mechanism of repression. As it is mentioned, throughout his career he pointed out two kinds of biological instincts of human behavior. They were 1. Eating and 2. Desire to have sex. In 1923 he was diagnosed with oral cancer (16 years before his death). During his last stay in the hospital, Freud expected many people would come to see him to the hospital because he was very famous in 1930s. But no one came.

2–3 weeks later after he was admitted to the hospital, one of his students came to see him. Freud was really happy to see a visitor after all. He got emotional and started talking about his work. While they were talking, Freud has told something surprising. “ I was wrong. Our greatest desire is not eating or having sex, it is self respect. I had to go through that to realize how it truly feels”.

So, what do you think? Is that true?

I believe that respect is a basic human need. Being respected makes us confident, more creative and gives us the power to put a huge impact on the society by our actions. We all know that we like to spend time with the ones who are respected by others. People even try to imitate them. That is where the hanging out with the cool kids and doing stupid things to get popular comes from. It comes from a deeper issue of acceptance.

Respect can also lead you in another way to arrogance. No one can deny that respect comes with a small dose of ego. It can be grown or controlled by our own mindset and thoughts.

What we must understand is that we don’t fully understand everyone around us. If there’s someone who acts weird, gets angry easily, or do stupid things to grab attention, we must not ignore them. We must try to understand them and get to know them better. We don’t know why they turned out to be that sort of characters. There’s always an untold story behind all of them which made them who they are. Society is cruel. We label them without a proper understanding. It’s catastrophic that we sacrifice only a small time when it comes to understanding others. The only persons story that you truly know is your own, and no one else. Until you’ve walked in their shoes, you only have faint idea about what it is like to be themselves.

I have dealt with many individuals with lots of inner problems because of the same root cause. I am glad to be trusted with all of them to share their views about these type of issues and I have had tremendous pleasure helping them out. Once they feel disrespected they might get the idea that their life is worthless, how ever impossible it may seem. They have a deeper fear that, if they disappear at some point and nobody will miss them. Sometimes they feel like their whole world is falling apart because no one sees value in them. Some of you might think my words are hyperbolic, but think, “How you would feel, How you would react if you were in such a position?” Remember, humans are social animals by nature. Respect is vital. Ignorance, hatred, can lead people to do terrible things. University ragging, crimes, suicide are some of them. Most of the criminals in the history have a similar story. Family breakups, anxiety, ignorance, mocked and then they start going against the society and its loved ones.

People experiencing serious mental disorders is the dark side of this scenario. These people suffer from sadness, loss of energy and interest, appetite changes and suicidal thoughts. If you are feeling one or more of these symptoms it’s more likely that you have depression. Depression is a serious state of mind. First, depression has to be recognized. People with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent. (Source — American foundation for suicide prevention) ( If I have learnt one thing from being with such individuals, it is that they need affirmation that makes them feel respected and valued. I have been fortunate enough to witness such situations and help them to get through those rough patches which led me to further understand that humanity and serving other people to be the best versions of themselves is my ultimate happiness.

Genuine characters, Introverts, People who were abused and tortured, people who stay real and honest, people with significant talents, are more likely to feel isolated. That’s because they are different. But they are the ones which make us human. They are the ones which make the world a beautiful place. Have you ever watched a biographical movie about someone who’s ordinary? About someone who stays normal to avoid being cornered? Being yourself and staying unique is the best thing you can do. Be proud of who you are. Be persistent about improving yourself and you will gain confidence and respect eventually. And the best thing is that no matter how hard we try we always end up liking the ones who are real and honest. We open our true selves only to them. Just take a minute and try to think about it if you haven’t figured it out yet. Staying real is a whole lot easy than maintaining a fake image. So, don’t think less about yourself if you’re feeling like you are being ignored by the world even though you feel like you’re a fruitful character to the society. If you’re doing your job right, if you’re fulfilling your responsibilities to your best ability, if you’re being nice and kind not only to humans but also to animals, then my friend there’s nothing to be concerned about. There’s nothing to be sad about, because you’re a gifted, wonderful human being. It’s ironic that most people don’t see it this way! You are an asset to the world, it’s just you hang out with the wrong crowd. Be proud of who you are. Never stop chasing your dreams and don’t even think about taking harmful actions which affects you and your loved ones. In a Doctor Who episode he says, “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one” . That’s the only thing which matters in the end. It’s about taking the next step and showing the world how beautiful you are! Keep going. The day that the world celebrates you for being who you are is not so far.

Beautiful — Eminem

Not just Sigmund Freud, a lot of famous people have mentioned the importance of respect, at some point in their lives. Raymond Carver was a poet. He mentioned that in the last poem of his last book which he finished writing few weeks before dying of a cancer.

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

-The End-



Isuru Pamuditha

Ponder & Wander... That'll make you an interesting person || Engineering Undergraduate ||