Thoughtful Tuesday

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.  Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” – Brian Tracy

I have been dealing with overwhelming feelings of complete disgust by my encounters with ill-mannered people. It seems that it is now "normal" behavior while driving, to honk uncontrollably or impatiently swerve in and out of traffic to cut someone off and be the first person to get to the red light. Also what seems to be "normal" behavior in grocery shopping, or any shopping for that matter is to walk into you without a word, hover over you or shove and push to get where they need to be instead of saying "excuse me". It saddens me to see that it isn't just that men aren't opening car doors for women, or offering them seats on subways or buses. It goes deeper than that. Indeed, everywhere we look, we can see evidence that we are living in an increasingly unmannerly world. One may ask what has changed? Well, for one thing, when you have a generation who are being brought up with the emphasis on assertiveness, individualism, and self-expression it fosters a me-first attitude and self-entitlement mentality. Another factor contributing to the dearth of public manners, is that those who ignore the accepted standards are no longer viewed as ill-mannered or boorish but as chic or sophisticated, much to be admired. In fact, today, the more shocking and outrageous a course of action is, the more popular it will likely become with many people.

This made me realize how much more effort that's needed on my part so that a person's bad manners don't strip me of my values to be kind, thoughtful and courteous. Because think, if everyone decides 'I'm going to be nasty just because this is what society has declined into...'what kind of society will we be fostering for the future? I'm not an expert in human behavior, but I do know the principle of cause and effect can be observed in virtually every aspect of life. No doubt the most memorable lessons you learned were those in which you had to face the consequences of your actions. In contrast, being thoughtful breathes so much more happiness in ones life. Have I honed this to a "T"? Absolutely not, but being conscious of it helps me try my best every day to exchange any bad manners with good ones.

For instance, I'll share this quick story. A few weeks ago, I didn't see my 82 year old neighbor for a while. I got a little worried and couldn't stop thinking about her, so I took time out of a super busy day to get her an orchid and placed it in a pretty pot. I was so excited to bring it to her that as soon as I got home I didn't even start dinner but ran it to her. With eyes wide open looking at the orchid she embraced me and gave me a hug and proceeded to tell me that she was feeling very lonely because her children and sister have not visited (sort of abandoned her) in years. Listening to her expressions of family disappointments put a huge lump in my throat and made sacrificing my time to visit with her worth every second of it. That experience brought more joy to me than getting a new pair of shoes or bag for I knew I made a difference in her life that day.

You either enrich or deplete someone else's life by your behavior and actions. Always remember that good manners are truly the finer touches in life.

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