Tag Archives: civility

Patience: A Christmas Shopping Virtue

Patience: A Christmas Shopping Virtue

The Christmas season is upon us and with that comes a whole lot of shopping for some folks. In my mind there are three types of shoppers.

  1. Ms. or Mr. Year-Round Shopper who by the time December comes is finished gift buying.
  2. Online Select and Save Savvy Shopper who proudly receives everything to their door or parcel pickup station.
  3. Store Hopping Christmas Shopper who navigates the malls to check off various wish lists.

No matter which shopping style we choose it might be helpful to remind ourselves to exercise patience.

There is no doubt that we will encounter full parking lots and distracted shoppers walking straight into our path. We can all expect that line ups will be longer and what we wanted to purchase may not be in stock.

There will be seasonal staff, who were likely hired and trained rather quickly, which means they might not be able to assist as well as seasoned store employees. Consider the long hours people work and the pressure people feel, financially and emotionally, when they try to meet the needs of family.

How about if we support each other by choosing a different way to respond to Christmas shopping?

  • Manage our time in a way that allows for all the challenges that might complicate our day
  • Flex our patience muscle
  • Take deep breaths and resist the urge to take our frustrations out on someone else
  • Put a smile on your face so those happy endorphins are triggered in the brain
  • Remember the importance of civility whether dealing with a person by phone or in person

Let’s change the frantic energy that often takes over Christmas and choose to move with intention and peace.

Civility Lost

I read a quote by EmmyLou Harris that caught my attention:

“As citizens we have to be more thoughtful, and more educated and more informed. I turn on the TV and I see grown people screaming at each other, and I think, well, if we don’t get our civility back, we’re in trouble.”

I agree. It is a sad fact that even as I write this I feel like a minority. I know I’m not, but voices like mine are drowned out by screaming, crass people. Public displays of rudeness and anger, like we see on TV, is not far off of our daily reality. With an unshakeable belief that they are important and not bound by any social mores these types of people are proudly pissed off. Civility? What civility?

In my opinion, without civility we tear at the fabric of our collective well-being. When we cease to care about the feelings of others, we risk isolation and can fall prey to narcissistic thinking. Negative energy flows like lava, scorching everything in its path. I truly believe that the more we move away from consideration and respect, at home and in public, the sicker we will become.

iStock_000016411581XSmallThe absence of consideration may be best illustrated in our interactions with the elderly. I’ve noticed things in the last few years that sometimes make me want to cry. I’ve seen the elderly almost get knocked over by people rushing by them; too busy to care. Doors have slammed back on their fragile, extended arms because the person before them did not even think to hold the door open. Frustration is demonstrated by looks, huffing or comments when they can’t use machines fast enough or their talking extends beyond an ‘acceptable’ length.This pains me. I fear that when that generation dies so too will many things that grounded us.

I can already feel my desire to detach myself from certain things and people simply because I can no longer find the will to excuse what I see.  I worry that my world will be laden with more and more demeaning language. That I will be forever looking for eye contact from a person who is transfixed on a screen. I wonder if eventually I will stop hearing “Please,” and “Thank you” or “Excuse me.”

In consideration of the quote by Ms. Harris I wonder, “If we don’t get our civility back what kind of trouble will befall us?”


Please excuse me

“Please excuse me I have somewhere else I would rather be.”

OK, I wouldn’t really say it like that but I have thought it many times in certain social settings. I don’t know if it is my age or my increased need to honor my self and my time but it is getting easier to walk away from being in the wrong place with the wrong people. We all have been in a room and experienced difficulty with a personality that turns what is a respectful, inclusive conversation or meaningful/fun experience into an excluding, bad taste, ego centric show.

I often find myself in that moment checking in with my reaction, trying to center and recognizing that this person is bringing up feelings in me I may need to explore.  I may need to look deeper as to how I can better handle situations like this. But not right now!

Right now, I sit politely listening to a bunch of inappropriate jokes or life/relationship analysis; a laugh that comes first from their own mouth, followed by others who either agree or feel compelled to participate. I sit there and think…Who are you? I look around to see if anyone else appears to be asking the same question or is adjusting their body language to compensate for their real feelings about this person being in their space. In my estimation, some individuals believe it is there place to liven things up but usually are not good at assessing the crowd. I always wonder what makes them think it was needing their touch, humour or antics to begin with.

It is the lack of civility, respect for all individuals and manners (especially in the company of women), that bothers me most. Some of the worst examples of human behaviour are used to signify a persons arrival in the group, propped up by a large ego and a loud mouth. (They are either really comfortable with their own behaviour or are compensating for some issues that are unbeknownst to the rest of us.)

I used to go through my life just joining in, feeling compelled to be in with the crowd but I became closer to myself over these years, formed a relationship and understanding that is working well. I became less interested in fitting in and more interested in living in my truth. There are some things that are just not funny to me or don’t interest me… and that is OK.

In assessing my own physical and psychological reactions to such people or circumstances I have learned a lot. My reactions are slowly changing; a slow process as sometimes I feel as though I may have to bite my tongue, literally. Feeling comfortable not to engage is welcomed, and then the subsequent letting go of all emotions associated with the experience or person. It is extremely liberating to realize that we all have reasons for the way we act in any given circumstance but that we also have the power to simply walk away.

Trust me when I say, I am under construction in this department, many people coming to test my foundation. How I respond is an opportunity to learn. I can do without certain people in my life, more selective I guess. I don’t know what works for the rest of you but I know where I am heading.

So, if you go down a road I’m not willing to go, “Please excuse me, I have somewhere else I would rather be.

(This post was reflecting many social settings in the past and was not fully representing any one situation or person)

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