Courtesy begets courtesy. Isn’t that what we are taught in schools when we are young? What happens when we grow up? Why do we forget the lessons? Or do we forget them or adapt them as per our grown-up perspective of the situation and people involved? Obviously, it is effective being courteous to people who can understand and reciprocate in a similar vein. But what if courtesy just slips off the skin of the person who is in front of you or who takes undue/unfair advantage of your courteous behaviour? What’s the use of being repeatedly courteous to a bully or a slob who cannot or doesn’t want to change herself at all?
In social situations, you do extend common courtesy to the ones around you. But what if you have a long term acquaintance with someone and you know that despite of your courteous behaviour, the behaviour of the concerned person will not change ever and that you will have to take or handle the fall out from her actions? What do you do then? What do you do when you are stuck between a rock and a hard place? There’s no easy answer. Each handles such situations in their own unique ways. Some lose their temper, some laugh it off, some end up abusing that person – all end up unhappy! None particularly effective as none solve the primary problem.
We come to: Courtesy begins at home. Each is responsible for her own behaviour. An adult can’t be taught corrective behaviour at such a late juncture. One can advise but one can’t enforce. An adult chooses the way she wants to behave. So, if you feel so bad about someone being discourteous to you, then take a step back and think. Think if it is the fault of that person’s nature or a reflection on your own. One can only try to change one’s own habits and nature and that’s easier said than done. So, how can you expect someone else to change their behaviour overnight? Having said that, in a social scenario, one has to be alert that one’s behaviour or habit does not create nuisance for other people. One has to be socially aware and socially accountable for one’s behaviour. But, sadly, we don’t see that happening. We are so busy in our lives that we are just focused on our own tasks and responsibilities. We don’t care if we make life tough for other people. We are narrow-minded. We refuse to see the broader picture. We are willfully blind. At least, that’s what I think – when someone clearly elucidates the rules of engagement between two people, two departments, two companies or even two nations, then how can you expect amicability to exist between the said parties if one party does not follow the rules and just flouts them? Amicability can never exist between two parties who can never exist in the face of willful misbehaviour. Courtesy is shot to hell.
But then, if you cannot maintain courteous behaviour in times of adversity, then you are not a true gentleman or a lady. Courtesy is not only for times of peace. Only because one party is acting like a neanderthal, one may not descend to their level and behave in a similar fashion.
Never lose focus that human life is about self advancement, self-improvement and self-actualization. Rest all is secondary, tertiary or unimportant.
Keep trying… Keep walking…