Being human?

I just read a Post which stressed the lack of courtesy, and frequent disrespectful behavior in today’s society, and I would tend to agree that we are moving away from the values that were the norm of not that long ago…. or are we?

I have “collided” with a number of women whose perceived independence dictated my gentlemanly gestures (holding doors open) to be considered demeaning.

I used to enjoy driving, but now find it tiresome mainly due to the impatience and aggressive driving of others.

I was appalled when I was submitting resumes for potential work, that not one company actually acknowledged receipt of it. Contact was only from the company that was interested in proceeding further.

I am a little upset when I write a really nice letter thanking a business for providing such wonderful service over many years but must regrettably discontinue, and the letter is not acknowledged.

I am dismayed when a business makes a mistake, and (in fairness)Β  corrects it, but offers no apology for any inconvenience.

Is this really the direction the world is going? I really don’t believe so.

I am reminded of my pre-retirement commute to work, which involved traveling on a major highway. I would guess that I shared the road with probably 500 vehicles during each trip and there were inevitably 2 or 3 delinquent drivers each time. It was an interesting revelation when I realized how much I used to reflect on those 2 or 3 idiot drivers, and not acknowledge the other 497/498 perfectly good drivers.

Likewise I can vividly remember a lady who blasted me for holding a door open for her because (apparently) it reflected on her own capability!!! That was some time ago and I have held many doors since, but I cannot remember any of the people who smiled and said thank you!

Perhaps our society is not really deteriorating in the concepts of courtesy and respect. Perhaps we just need to put events into a more balanced perspective and recognize the fact that for everyΒ  negative interaction we experience, there are so many more positive ones that we should be dwelling on. Why should I dwell on the “checkout girl” with the attitude of total indifference, when I have experienced so many others who seemed genuinely pleased to be serving me.

We seem to have a pre-disposition to focus on negatives but. like everything else in our lives, we have choices. We can assume everybody is dishonest, treat people accordingly, and miss out on some wonderful relationships, or we can assume everybody is honest and be disappointed occasionally. It is all a matter of recognizing the options and then making a conscious choice!

I WILL remember all the good drivers on the roads. I WILL remember those friendly smiles as I display some form of respect and/or courtesy. I WILL remember that lovely “How may I help you?”, or even the traditional (at least in Canada) “Have a nice day!” I WILL remember that there are people in the world (a minority) who are irresponsible; dishonest and rude. I WILL remember that there are people who, through no fault of theirs, are in a traumatic situation and just need their personal space. I WILL remember all those things because I WILL then have a much healthier and realistic perspective on my world.

My world WILL be a much happier place! What does your world look like?

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46 thoughts on “Being human?

  1. Great post, Colin, and I’ve had to remind myself too of the nice things, to stop myself being overwhelmed by the awful things. In the past year I’ve had a lot of contact with younger people (mostly Aussies but not all) who read and blog about books, and I have to say they’re mostly an amazing community of polite, funny, self-aware, smart kids. It reminds me that there’s hope yet for our collective future πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • We all need interactions with people like your “book people” in order to counteract the all too common “gloom and doom” purveyors, and I do agree with you that there is hope for our collective future. These “younger folk” just need to get themselves into decision making positions. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A little lol :-). I find it funny – the women who feel demeaned when someone holds a door for them, like as if it diminishes their ability or something. But I guess it is an extreme reaction to something that also went extreme in the history of the West.

    It seems that in Asia, men opening or holding doors for women is not cultural; it is a learned and adopted gesture which is very much appreciated by Asian women. This gesture is largely from the European culture of chivalry. Asian men show their ‘chivalry’ in other ways, however.

    I don’t know what happened to western feminism, I think it went hyper or something. And then they want to export it all over the world. Yes, there are all sorts of women issues everywhere but they are all unique, complex and context-based. So no one ideology that is developed in one specific area should be universalized . Anyway, I consider the case of someone holding a door open for a woman, a high art! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • From my experiences, it goes back to the feminist (Womens Lib) movement in the 60’s and, I guess like every group, there are members who take things to extremes which is detrimental to some degree with what they are trying to achieve. My perspective is simply that courtesy costs little more than a thought, and if an individual finds it offensive in some way … then they can deal with it as I see no reason to change. If we ever meet Allu, I will open doors for you! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for opening the door for me! πŸ™‚

        What I mean is, there might have been an extreme action in the past that caused an equally extreme reaction. There might have been a time in history when the women were so demeaned/suppressed/objectified, and that now resulted in a very defensive response to a very simple and well intended courtesy from a man. Perhaps there was an inherited unconscious trauma in the female psyche which is attributed to being a female. Unconsciously, these ‘wounded feminine’ actually and unwittingly are still under the the belief that women are weak, and so they go their way to prove it otherwise. I see it as a kind of unhealed feminine wound and insecurity. For if I were the one you held the door for, I would not feel insulted. The very feminist in me would feel celebrated! Of course I can open the door for myself, but if someone is happy to do it for me, that’s even better, for why not? haha . . . Sorry, I have this tendency to revel in dissecting things. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • No need to apologize Allu, and I tend to agree with you. I had a woman boss once who was a horror story simply because she was always interfering and trying to prove to everybody that she knew what she was doing and could manage people etc. The feelings around the office were simply that if she would just do her job, and let us get on with ours, the atmosphere would be so much better!:)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. It all goes back to the simplicity of the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated. I open doors for folks all the time, and they do the same. There is always a “Thank You”. You’re so right, we tend to only remember the bad experiences, which are always in the minority. Great post. πŸ’˜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah… that Golden Rule. Such basic common sense – everybody can surely understand it – it takes minimal effort to apply it, so why do so many not adopt the concept I wonder? Probably just pre-occupied with the world that they have isolated themselves in?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All so true, Colin. My adult boys alway get the door for me, and I try to remember to not grab the door handle first! Around here, it is common courtesy to hold the door for the person right behind you, and sometimes even a bit further back, whether you are a man or a woman. Also, about the indifferent cashier, I learned some years ago that if I found something nice to say to them (“I love your earrings”) they ALWAYS brighten up and become friendly. I have suddenly become a person to them and have made their drudge of a day a little bit better. Thanks for the great post Colin, and by the way, I like your floppy hat. πŸ™‚ Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Amy: I think that most people, especially those in mundane kinds of jobs, really appreciate the fact that they are acknowledged and it can make their day. We live in a very fast paced, technologically driven, and very impersonal world… and so having one’s existence affirmed can be a big deal!
      As for the hat? That’s my adventure hat … a Tilley Hat!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so true regarding how we focus on the negatives more. I remember brooding over a rude waiter about 2 weeks ago, and totally forgot about all the amazing things about that particular place.
    If only we focus on the positives more, how much easier life would be. Will try to remind myself that more often.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When someone isn’t courteous I pity them.. Cause people in general tend to give only what they have received and what lays as excess with them..

    A courteous person has more love and cheer to give away, while anger and hatred are the only give away possible for few..

    So let us spread out more and more of goodness and hope the chain continues..

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes.. Compassion suits more than pity..

        And every time I come across someone like that I stress myself out as my cowardice pulls me back while the compassion extends a helping hand.. Unfortunately cowardice wins more often than compassion.. 😦 and the regret that follows for not extending is even worse!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is probably simply based on your personal level of security. You may not want to chance a negative reaction or be totally misunderstood. You know what you should be doing, and the ability to do it will no doubt come with time. The aging process is a wonderful teacher!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. What a perfect writing for my weekend happenings. I was walking out of the Home Depot store when I spotted a screw on the pavement. I stopped to pick it up, and I said to my self “one less flat tire” I didn’t realize the man walking near me and he said Thank you, so I could hear it. I also had stopped at the fruit stand and parked my car, on the street. Upon returning I realized that before I got in my car I saw a bicyclist coming my way. I stopped with my hand on the door, and waited for the bicyclist to ride buy. He gave a wave of Thank you for me not opening the door. It’s amazing but I did think of these 2 kind acts during the weekend. Acts of kindness go a long way.

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  8. Amen, amen, amen! I couldn’t agree with you more, Colin. And I think your advice is what’s needed to get along in today’s society. Thank you for writing these important words and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very true Colin, very true. We thank the cashier in the supermarket or anyone else who gives us service, we hold doors open for the elderly (we think, as we come into that bracket according to some!), offer to carry bags, and have a ready smile and ‘you’re welcome’ if anyone thanks us. I went over to the two people who entertained us on Saturday night to thank them. They appeared surprised, but not as surprised as the marina boss who was stood alongside them! It’s like belonging to a different world, yet for us (and no doubt you and your family), it’s simply good manners.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My world perspective kind of varies according to the glasses I’m wearing.
    My rose-tinted ones give me a gentle view of the world. My extra dark glasses block it out. My normal ones break very easily. I wear contacts for meeting people. I try to be patient with myself and others. You are right of course Colin. Always need to make allowances and hope we all try and do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Today I almost had a collision with a guy on a motorcycle. We were both pulling out into a main drive in a shopping center. His motorcycle blended in with the gas station in back of him and I did not see him. We both stopped immediately. I know my heart raced so his must have too. I know how seriously hurt motorcyclists can get in a collision with a car. I was truly sorry and hoped it did not affect the rest of his day. I had no way of apologizing as we both went on our way. Sometimes what seems like indifference is something else. People seem rude but they have something else on their minds. I work at trying not to judge people (and believe me I have to work hard at it) and I definitely agree with you. We remember the bad way more than the good. I am sure this guy will a story that involved a dotty old lady in a parking lot almost running him over.

    Liked by 1 person

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