The Lost Art of Honor–And Why We Need it Back

When you hear the word “honor”, what comes to mind? Stories, perhaps: great heroes. The privilege given to people of status? Or maybe just a medieval idea that belongs with knights and creeds and princesses and all that.


The more I look around at our society today, the more I see what honor has become: a lost art. So many of our generation have so little regard for others outside of casual interactions, and this lack of respect—of honor—is blowing holes in our ability to form strong relationships, whether with our partners, friends, or family members.

Defining Honor

To honor someone is to treat them with great respect and esteem. Unfortunately, many of us today don’t know what that looks like—let alone how to demonstrate it. It’s no wonder so many of our relationships end badly as a result.

True honor comes from a place of generosity. But rather than intentionally cultivating a mindset of selflessness towards others, we’ve been conditioned to a mentality of consumerism; always seeking what’s best for ourselves: how we can look better, feel better, or achieve more.

If we want to have the kind of impact and relationships we desire, it’s time we brought back this lost art.

Why We Need Honor Back

Honor makes others feel valued. All too often, we’re so focused on personal gain—even if not openly—that we neglect to show those around us how much we value them. We’re distracted, distant, forgetful. It’s not that we don’t value others; we’ve simply forgotten to be intentional about letting them know, and we’ve let other things get in the way.

Honor gains respect. If there’s one thing we want in society, it’s respect. We want to be treated well, and we spend so much time demanding that respect and tearing others down in an attempt to elevate ourselves that we forget the concept of honor. When you honor another person—regardless of who they are or whether you agree with them—you will undoubtedly gain the respect of those around you.

Honor demonstrates maturity. We’re so good at letting menial offenses destroy our relationships—and our influence. When we disagree with someone, our last thought is to treat that person with respect, whether they’re a friend, partner, or family member. Rising above offense and choosing to show honor will set you apart not only as someone to be respected, but someone to follow.

6 Ways to Show Honor in Your Relationships

1: Speak positively of them to others

The words you speak will influence your behavior, so let others know you value this person. Instead of complaining about their flaws, compliment their strengths. Be positive—even when they aren’t around.

2: Do unexpected kindnesses

One way to demonstrate honor is by doing simple acts of unexpected kindness, such as writing a note, buying them a cup of coffee, or cleaning the house. These things may be small, but doing them consistently will demonstrate value.

3: Listen to their opinions even if they disagree with you

Our first instinct is to listen to respond, rather than to understand. We want to get to the part when we talk, but true honor is being willing to hear someone out, not because you agree with them, but because you respect them.

4: Let them know you value their perspective

Rather than always making them come to you with their opinions, ask them. Be intentional about communicating with them. This shows you not only care about what they think, but also how they feel in a certain situation.

5: Encourage them in the pursuit of their passions

When we honor others, we seek to help them feel empowered, and this comes from encouragement. Instead of comparing yourself to others and tearing them down, seek to build them up.

6: Be present when you’re with them

It’s easy to let other things take precedence over your relationships; easy to feel pressured to keep up with the constant hustle. But we honor others by elevating them above the distractions in our lives. Being present is one of the best ways to demonstrate respect for another person.

Your Challenge

Today I want you to think about how you can honor those around you—whether it’s your significant other, best friend, or coworker. What can you do to esteem them? To make them feel valued?

It’s time we worked together as a generation to bring back the lost art of honor. Be somebody else’s hero today.

Let’s chat!

  • How do you honor others in your relationships?
  • Why is respect valuable to you?
  • Has lack of honor damaged a relationship of yours in the past?

Hey! If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a friend, or reply on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to get connected with you!

Author Box4

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Honor–And Why We Need it Back

  1. Another awesome post! #1 and #3 are ones I’ve thought about a lot. I saw a quote that said that talking positively of others will make people trust you more–because they’ll believe you speak positively of them when they’re not around. It’s so easy to complain about people behind their backs, and it’s something I really want to put an end to in my conversation.

    #3 is a concept we talked about a lot in my last job. We called it second level listening, which meant that you were listening to determine how the conversation was affecting the other person/what they really meant rather than listening to determine how to respond.

    Thanks for the post!

    • That’s a good point, Leah. And I think you’re right. Trust is built, often, by how others observe us treating those around us. It’s important to be aware of that.

      Listening with the intent to understand rather than to respond is difficult sometimes, but so important, especially in a work setting where you’ve got to collaborate with other people often.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I loved reading this particular post. I have what I call “Honorary Siblings”. They’re the kids I just consider special, a little more than others. But it’s amazing, what it’s done to my perspective of all people, not just those particular kids. Having that special spot reserved makes me see everyone as a potential “Honorary Sibling” and because of this, I already try to treat everyone with this honor and respect you talked about. It was a beautiful think to realize. I really appreciated it. I love the idea of old fashioned honor and hope I can help spread it around that much more. Thank you.

    • Thanks for commenting, Ashley! What a neat idea–having “honorary siblings”. It is amazing what deep friendships add to your perspective on the rest of the world. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! (:

  3. I love this post so much! It really touches a soft point with me, because I have been in many relationships that I have felt dishonored in. It makes me want to show that respect to others so that they don’t feel as I have. You write such great, thought-provoking posts that always touch me in some way. Thanks and keep writing!!

    • Feeling dishonored and undervalued is one of the most discouraging things in a relationship. I’m sorry you’ve felt that way in the past. That’s very brave of you to channel those feelings into a desire to show honor and respect to others. Thank you so much for commenting, and I’m glad you found this post helpful.