|From the photo exhibit at Smithsonian Natural History Museum|
I am thankful for polite folk.
I'm not quite sure how so many people lost the desire to "be nice" but so many now grab what they want and believe the rest of the world should give it to them.
That's not how it works.
Research has shown people want respect. Sometimes in the workplace respect has more value than raises.
Polite behavior is like the oil in a sewing machine. The machine has these sturdy metal parts but won't run smoothly unless there is oil.
Recently I went out for a walk in my neighborhood. In order to walk a couple miles I must walk in the streets as there are only a couple sidewalks. It's a neighborhood with a posted 25 mph speed limit for cars.
I will go so far as to say MANY residents ignore that, speeding past at 45 to 50 mph and within 3 feet of me. It is terrifying and disrespectful. I've seen cars veer into my path to avoid a pot hole or another car when the polite ( and lawful) thing to do would be to slow down or wait for a safe moment to pass.
I've heard from others who walk that they are angry at this behavior.
Anger is an easy reaction to go to when disrespected. It also harms the disrespected person more than the offender. Anger can ruin a day, and left unchecked can ruin a life.
What can we do to increase kindness and understanding?
We can be polite when it's easier to be demanding.
The world owes us nothing, but we owe the world everything.
However hard you work for what you have, you still need clean air and water, and other people.
We work together in societies because it's better for all.
We take care of each other because it's better for all.
Recently I encountered two polite people and it renewed me, healed me a little.
It was spiritual balm.
After yet another truck pushed me to the side of the road while I was out walking, I heard,
"Miss! Miss??" I turned expecting to have the driver shake his fist at me as has happened many times.
Instead the driver said, "you dropped your glove!"
Oh. I expected more incivility and was surprised with kindness.
I would have desperately missed than new wool mitt. I felt gratitude and happiness at this interaction. You can believe I let that sink in and learned from him. Not to just tell a person about a dropped glove, but to take the merest 'blink-of-an-eye' moment to reach out with kindness to a person who expects less.
It changes us.
The driver knew in his heart he could have driven by without a glance but he chose kindness.
That is the kind of thing that increases self esteem too.
A person may "get away" with ugly behavior but somewhere in their heart they know they didn't choose well, and decent folk feel guilty about it.
Another encounter was at a bead shop. I was looking hard at a wall of beads wondering what would work in a current project. Another shopper came in and came to the same wall. She said " excuse me!" when I glanced up at her. She stepped back not to invade my space.
I often encounter shoppers who shove me out of their way, while they talk on their phones and step in front of me to look at something. In fact it happens so frequently I have come to expect it. It leaves me angry as if they are more important than I am, as if their desires trump mine.
As if I don't matter, indeed to them I do not.
|Another image from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum exhibit|
Each person deserves respect and I am saying the world will be more content if we respect each other.
This has been weighing heavily on my heart, and I feel I must express it...
It is not acceptable for anyone to deride citizens, especially leaders.
It is not understandable nor acceptable nor an American value to denigrate groups of people.
We would not allow children to say derogatory things out loud, that are being said by some elected officials. If a person speaks for America, I expect them to represent all of it's citizens with restraint and respect. We deserve that. We should expect no less from them than we would a friend, a spouse, a child or a neighbor.
Apparently owning all the merchandise in the world, having all the money available, getting your way at the expense of someone else, is not making people happy. I see very few truly happy people.
It is my idea that respecting each other, being polite, will increase happiness. Note I have tried to express myself in a polite way here.
Tell me of a time when someone changed your day by being polite, please.