Civility. Courtesy. Politeness
Common sense: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.
Self-Awareness Theory states that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.
I offer these common definitions of three terms that I am finding to be a rare commodity in everyday life these days. Because of my age, I have a definite perspective that references different times and places. I do look at actions and situations differently than most people under the age of thirty, as I did when I was that age and my parents were in their sixties. But regardless of age, geography or circumstances, I have always thought that people should operate on basic principles that make life easier for everyone. Those three concepts are defined above.
I am not going to be one of those who laments the passing of the years and claim that things were much better back in the old days. I can’t say they were better or any different. Human behavior has not really changed drastically over the years but perhaps my reaction to it has. I am more aware when people do not employ one of the definitions above in their every day activities and it’s disheartening to me that some people appear to be so self-centered that they do not consider others in what they say and do.
When one accidentally bumps into another person or causes them a minor inconvenience, is it so hard to just say “excuse me?” Apparently it is. How often have you been at the grocery store and had your cart bumped with no one saying anything? Has anyone ever cut in front of you in a line? Have they used language that’s unwarranted when you slowly back out of a parking space and yet they slam on their brakes and throw the blame to you for impeding their progress? Where does civility come in at those times? While often awkward moments are resolved with both parties accepting blame for the situation or they smile and move on, at times people react without reason. It’s puzzling to me why some people function as if their agenda is all that matters.
When it comes to the three concepts above, I offer these situations: at what point do people in a neighboring property realize that their noise level, boisterous and colorful language and wafting marijuana smells might be infringing on the rights of other neighbors? When trying to navigate an aisle with a shopping cart, at what point does a person become self-aware that standing in the middle of the aisle talking on a cell phone, blocking the aisle for others is not really very considerate? Why do some people never address their barking dogs? And, as you know, the list can go on and on. None of these things are really that serious as isolated incidents. But I am baffled why some of these people don’t possess enough self-awareness to realize they might be inconveniencing others or infringing on the rights of others. Do they just not care or are they just clueless? I can’t generalize about people’s behavior. And let’s face it, none of us are perfect. We all probably exhibit some behaviors that others might view are a little self-indulgent.
I was following that story this week about the young boys on the bus who verbally bullied the grandmother who was district employee and made her cry. At what point did kids think that relating to any person that way was acceptable? I will play the “Old guy” card here and just say that when I grew up in the fifties, I seriously doubt that children even gave a remote consideration to addressing an adult that way, especially one in a supervisory position. Are children no longer being taught civility? Are parents making them realize that they share this planet with all kinds of people; all of who deserve respect? I wonder.
I am not sure whether I over-react about certain behaviors that I find uncomfortable or disturbing or if there really is a general disintegration of civility, self-awareness and common sense. I like to think not. But recently, reality is proving otherwise.