I am rude.
I can be rude.
I have been rude.
I try not to be rude.
Most of the time, I am unapologetic when I am rude.
I greatly dislike when other people are rude.
We’re all rude.
We’re all capable of being rude.
We all have been rude.
When do we stop and consider our rudeness and then reflect? When do we decide to make the effort to not be rude?
This morning, I found myself at Whole Foods just around their opening hoping to avoid the crowds that will later swarm the store as they gather items for their Thanksgiving feasts. Even with an emptier store than normal, I had lots of rude thoughts. It started with the woman who pushed herself past me to the point that she knocked my purse off my shoulder. Than there was the guy who was in such a hurry that they pushed my basket so hard it fell to the ground. I reminded myself during both occasions to breathe and not snap or respond in a rude manner. Instead at the check out line, I started talking to this awesome woman about her after Thanksgiving duck recipe and as she went to check out we both wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving. Point one in the score for not being rude.
In my mind, the Holiday season is a brief moment of time, six weeks to be exact, where peace and good will should be shared generously and with abundance. It’s what I learned from Charlie Brown, Catholic Church, and the Grinch. The only thing is that I believe that it should be shared all 52 weeks of the year, but you know, I can’t control other people and their rude behavior; I can only control my own. And as we’ve already discussed, I can, have, and even still, will be rude.
Now I said above that I am unapologetic when I am rude and that’s usually the case. I find that I say thank you and excuse me often enough that when someone does push me past my rude limit, I snap, am rude and then shake pass it. Does that excuse me me or anyone else for being rude? No. And I can not even begin to make excuses, but what I can begin to do is understand why I was rude. I can also hope that others can begin to think about their own rude behavior. See, we tend to think that that exchange stays in that moment, but it doesn’t. In fact, I (and you) have made an impression on someone else and to the many others that may have been around at the time. Even if we never see that person/those people again, we will have made an impression. When you think about it that way, it’s a bit terrifying and disappointing to remember my past indiscretions
Since yesterday, I’ve made it an effort to say thank you and excuse me even more. I’ve also made it my goal to not say anything when someone pushes me or knocks my bag off my shoulder. Although, I can not lie, yesterday morning after two people did the same thing on the L train, I turned to both and said, “two words you can use next time, excuse me”. Was that rude? Sure in some way, but I’m not quite sure that it counts as really rude.
To me, really rude is what happened this morning, and something I’ve seen numerous times before, “a mom, or nanny get on the bus with a small child who wants to sit down. Who even says loudly in their 2/3-year-old voice, “I want to sit down” and not one adult gets up. Not a single adult. Instead they sit with their ipods in, or act like they don’t hear the whining child. Fortunately, today, a guy did get up and offer the seat to the child, but it was only after the bus had been moving for a good five minutes and after he finished playing the game on his iphone. I stood there stunned at such blatant rude behavior. I also stood there and wondered. Everyone on that bus this morning was going to a job that requires sitting at a computer all day.
So the new question is- When did we become such self-serving, selfish individuals ALL THE TIME?
Yes, we’re all selfish to some extent, but I don’t mean this kind of selfish, which I would describe as taking time to care for yourself. I mean the other kind of selfish, where you put your needs above and before the needs of others. I try to always protect myself, but I also pay attention to those around me and if someone needs help, I don’t just ignore them.
I’m one of those people who believe positive influence can spread cheer and energy. It can also influence others. It’s not that difficult you know. Or as I like to say, “never doubt your power to help someone.”
And so my pledge this Thanksgiving week and during the remaining weeks of the Holiday season is to be nicer and kinder. I suppose this really started last weekend when I talked to a guy that at first glance appeared homeless on the subway. He had missing teeth, talked titled and not in a straight line. For all I know, he could have been drunk, but he asked how many stops until 2nd Ave and I told him and he started telling me about his daughter and twin grandchildren. When he got off the train, he thanked me for helping him, but I think he was really thanking me for not treating him like he was worthless or different. So in keeping with that experience and my experiences today, I’m going to try and lead by example in regards of how we should treat each other. This is going to be an extreme exercise in patience, but I always try to do something new and different leading up to my birthday, so I’m excited about this.
Who knows, this could have the same effect as doing an hour long yoga session. We’ll see!
I can’t promise to move mountains, but I can promise to try and make people think differently through my actions and behavior. Again, we’ll see how well it goes and we’ll see how well I do. On December 1st, my birthday, I’ll write up something about these past nine days. I’ll follow up on January 6th as that’s the week after all the major Holidays end.
If you’d like to take part of the this little pledge, let me know in the comment box. If you don’t want to let me know, that’s fine, too, but I hope you try to lead positively during the next six week.
Lets do this!