The world today is so very different from the world I grew up in. I was born in a time when part of ones learning experience was learning social skills and manners. Believe it or not, they were even taught in school as well as being taught at home by your parents. It was a time when “Please” and “Thank you” were commonplace in our vocabulary; a time when gentlemen opened doors for ladies and tip their hats in greeting and those hats were always removed when inside a building. It was a time when, seeing someone struggling or in trouble, you didn’t hesitate to help in anyway you were able. On public transit, men gave up seats to women and the young gave their seats to the elderly and infirmed. I could go on, but you get the idea. It was called courtesy. To some this may seem very old-fashioned, but maybe that’s because most of the underlying reasoning has been forgotten.
By definition, “manners” means “1. a way in which a thing is done or happens; 2. a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others; 3. polite or well-bred social behavior.. “ Okay. Let’s take a look at another word that has all but disappeared from usage – “etiquette.” “A French world denoting a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.” Finally, let’s define “courtesy.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary. courtesy is “polite behavior, or polite action.”
It is when you finally arrive at the word “polite” that you start to find a thread to follow to the meaning to all this. By looking up the meaning of polite, you find that being polite is “having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.” Aha! We have now arrived at two words that help us to understand the meaning behind having manners – respect and consideration.
I’ve had 70 years to watch the world change around me. Some of the first things I saw become endangered and start to disappear was our respect for our planet, other people, and, maybe most importantly, for ourselves. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard young people talk about other people disrespecting them. My question is, do you give as much respect as you expect to receive? That goes for anyone of any age. You’re only going to get as good as you give and if the first person you fail to give respect to is yourself, then expecting to receive it from others may be futile. (That’s that Law of Attraction thing again.) Oh, I know. No matter how polite and considerate you are, there will always be someone who finds no reason to extend the same to you. On the whole though, are most people respectful toward you? Do you respect yourself? Important questions and answers to consider.
Then there’s that other word – considerate. It’s basic meaning is, “to be careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt toward others.” While you should never live your life walking on egg shells, afraid that you are going to inconvenience or hurt someone, the real measure of this definition is intent. We are responsible for the intention behind our actions and words. When you set out to do a certain thing or say a certain thing, what was your intent? Did you intend harm in any way? Being harmful doesn’t always require physicality. In fact, psychological harm often is more lasting and debilitating than physical harm. So what were you thinking and feeling prior to your actions and/or words?
There’s one other term I want to address – “politically correct.” I’m not sure when this phrase started to take hold, but in consideration of the lack of truthfulness, real caring and respect that goes on in politics, why would we choose to place these two words together to mean, “language. policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society” ? (credit to Wikipedia) Quite frankly, I don’t get it. (Stepping down off my soapbox now.)
I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t notice anyone being respectful, courteous, or polite anymore. The very fact that there are people who take the time to post memes on Facebook voicing their concern about the lack or disappearance of manners tells me there are still people out there who know what they are and practice them. Now, they may all be “Baby Boomers” like me, but I don’t think so. What I think they are are people who recognize, even if only on a subconscious level, that the politeness, respect, and consideration expressed by the practice of manners is a vibration that raises the vibration of this planet. It’s an expression of love. Right now, this planet and all of its living beings, including humans, could use more love.
This reality that we live in is one of duality. The two major emotions, from which all other emotions spring, are Love and Fear. Right now, it appears that Fear has the upper hand with all the anger and hate that makes the news every day. There is a cure, a way to bring healing to the current negative energies that seem to be taking over our way of life – Love.
When you take the time to show consideration, respect, and/or courtesy to a fellow human being, animal or even plant, you express the vibration of love. That vibration will ripple out and cause changes in our lives. That’s the magick of it…the magick of manners. (Thank you.)