Yesterday while walking in the underground corridors of the tube I saw this smart ad (part of the campaign of TFL-Transport for London).
Surely this campaign was not accidental. Certainly some (give or take) users of the public transport system have resorted to swearing at employees and not only.
In a world where everything moves at uncontrollable speed, where everybody is in a hurry, anxious and struggling at the same time. In a world that has no time for padding and other witticisms, good manners seem to many like a superfluous waste, yet another means of social oppression, another social «comme il faut», for those people that do not know or have never learned how to behave within the confines of political correctness.
There is a whole world out there which carries a bitterness, an all-consuming anger, an unprecedented lack of education that leads to violent outbursts, not in every direction, but unfortunately selectively and in only one direction (that of fellow humans) – from whom they will not suffer the consequences…
I realize how anonymity may dehumanize or more correctly denude people.
And yet the same person who behaves by the book in the office can misbehave and demean others.
Tons of ink has been spent describing the ineffectiveness of various sectors. But few see the other side of the coin.
Being polite is independent of whether you’re right.
Being polite is independent of who you are and what’s your status.
Being polite is independent of whether your rudeness will have consequences or not.
Being polite should have nothing to do with the ineptitude or capability of the person you are facing. The French say «Noblesse oblige» (Courtesy obliges). Politeness requires, encourages, gives, facilitates, recognizes and empowers.
Politeness is not an overcoat that you take on and off depending on your mood. It is mainly the way you behave towards people who are on paper lower than you in hierarchy, to those you are not dependent upon and from from whom you have little to gain.
Politeness is an education. And it something that you can learn. It is a matter of habit. It’s the way you look at others. The way you respond. It’s the way you address people. The way you extend your hand. Your smile. Your grace is a measure of civilization and intelligence.
Politeness is a way of life. To all. To your friends. To your relatives. To your coworkers. To strangers.
There is no easier road than the one of mordancy of aphorisms, of shamelessness. The other path requires restraint and primarily an internal, pure indulgence.
Courtesy is the way you deal with this world, and above all with others. With our fellowmen.
Don’t forget that you can say the exact same thing in many different ways. Make sure to say what you want exactly as you would want others to say it to you.
Make sure that you are not the cause the next time a child asks his mother “Why are you crying mom?”
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