Courtesy is a tool used to navigate social situations. It’s also a way to show respect and kindness to your fellow human beings. I say thank you to the bus driver when I get off the bus, I hold the door open for the person behind me, and I’m always appreciative of the people who make me coffee. The dictates of courtesy make these simple acts easy to follow.
There are days when I feel less than kind towards humanity. I’m tired, I’m grumpy, or something just didn’t work out my way. Regardless of this, I try my best to smile at people and exercise common courtesy. Why? There’s no worse remedy for a bad mood than spreading it around. It just doesn’t make anyone feel any better. Now, I have to admit that if it did make me feel any better I may not be writing this article. However, the fact remains that treating people poorly just makes me feel like a bad person.
We share our space with other people. It’s unavoidable. With this in mind we should come to the realization that the happier the people around us are, the more it adds to our happiness. It’s beneficial to everyone, including ourselves, to treat people with kindness. Although the effect may not be immediate or visible, kindness has an impact. The opposite is true: cruelty also has an impact and its impact is usually more visible and immediate.
Have you ever had a stranger treat you rudely or dismissively? Do you remember how angry, confused, or sad that made you feel? I recall how that made me feel and how it still makes me feel today: horrible. Being considerate to others does not guarantee that others will be considerate towards you, unfortunately. However, it does mean that you are not contributing to someone else’s bad day. Maybe it even means that you’re alleviating some of a bad day for someone else. Isn’t that great? It’s just good karma and that’s advantageous to all.
Keri lives in Boyle Street, where she practices kindness, like volunteering her time with Boyle McCauley News.