Most of us have been taught manners. It is a necessary part of functioning successfully in a civilized world. We need manners to communicate efficiently, and to get along with others. Early in life we learn the “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated. We learn it at home, and it is reinforced by schools and others along our way. The idea is to “pay it forward”.
As we mature, becoming adept at learning the ways to get what we want, the rules become more distorted. Often we begin to see the possibility of adopting the “an eye for an eye” philosophy. Having a conscience, we know this is wrong; somehow we still enable ourselves to feel justified at times.
Being polite and treating others with patience and courtesy will usually get you what you want, achieving what you set out to do. This is true throughout your life, no matter the situation. Yet, we still find it difficult at times to treat others the way we want to be treated. We sometimes catch flies with artificial sweetener.
It is the squeaky wheel who gets the grease, eventually becoming unbearable enough that it will have to be changed. However things can never be changed by avoidance, by taking no action. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. We must put ourselves in other’s positions to truly understand their place. The annoying panhandler on the road, the impatient server, the tired cashier, they each have their own set of circumstances that we cannot know.
Complaints must be balanced by compliments. Credit must be given where credit is due. Validation is a basic human need. People and their efforts must be acknowledged.
This balance is the yin and yang of life. It is the bitterness of the bad that makes the good so sweet. It is our job as humans, fellow mortals, to balance the two within ourselves and each other. We must give from the heart when someone needs it, because sometimes we do.
Charity does begin at home. We must start with our loved ones, being kind and understanding, because only then can we share it with others. Even when we are not able to agree we must learn how to be able to disagree. Even when we cannot understand, we must learn to accept.
It was the wise Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If we strive for that, we can make a difference, if only in our own lives and those around us. It is worth the effort to reach one another.