people behaving badly, two


i believe we are experiencing a national epidemic.  people all around us are behaving badly--  we are sarcastic, rude, and at times downright nasty to each other--  and we are doing this not just in some form of extreme situation (not that that is any more acceptable)-- we are doing this on a regular basis, every day.

we treat strangers badly-- we are rude to other drivers, rude to people in line at the grocery store, rude to people at the dog park, rude to the traffic cop who's job it is to write us a ticket, rude to the clerk at the town office where we are paying our water bill, rude to the target of some piece of nasty gossip-- knowing nothing about the truth of their situation- rude to the person buying a coffee because s/he does not know how to order at our particular venue, rude to the person asking questions of the museum staff, because somehow they are in our way-- we make assumptions about other people and their behavior that we think entitle us to unleash anything we want at another person-- just because.   and yet we also treat our own family members without respect much of the time as well.  children speak in rude and abusive ways to their parents, parents get angry at their children and yell or lash out-- spouses unleash unbelievable abuse on each other-- all under the guise of being in-bounds behavior.

because we have come to think that this is all normal-- normal to tease meanly, normal to be rude, normal to be sarcastic, normal to cross over into being abusive-- and we do not recognize it as abuse.  we talk a lot about bullies in schools and the impact the individual bully is having on his/ her individual targets. BUT bullying is an extreme on a spectrum of behavior within which we have all come to feel way too comfortable.  rudeness and disrespect are pervasive in our popular media. our politicians have moved into the realm of bullying behavior (though i think the re-election of president obama was in some ways a vote for respect and polite behavior).

a suggestion:  notice how you treat people today.  think about whether you are treating your family and friends, neighbors, community members, and strangers with respect.  think about whether they are treating you with respect.  concentrate on patience and kindness.  imagine what it would be like to go through your day being treated nicely.  imagine how differently you might feel at the end of that day-- instead of being drained and depleted, imagine the possibility of having been fed all day by loved-ones and strangers alike.

 and be nice.

-mary-moore.

2 comments:

BlueTerracotta said...

This is nice...I try to remember that life is hard for everyone, and I try at least not make the day worse for anyone, but I don't always succeed, of course. Perhaps first recognizing when we display rude behavior, and mending from there?

shopgirl said...

yes-- recognizing the behavior in ourselves in definitely the first step! thanks!

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