Before I elaborate on the virtues we gain by refraining from being insolent, let me tell you how I met someone whose beauty lay significantly in the way she treated others.
Perhaps more importantly, the admirable interest she has in the well being of all she comes across.
When I had met Arifa for the first time, it was in 1996, just after my marriage.
Her simple and homely warmth and hospitality enhanced her natural charm. But what made me her admirer was when she disarmingly offered to clean up our home when I got flu. And this kind offer was generously made after one mere brief meeting! She had yet to become my friend at that time, but her affection and concern for a stranger like me simply won me over.
As a young bride, I soon learned that she is is one of the most special people I’ve come across in my life. I was enchanted not just by her home and life management abilities, her magical culinary skills but most of all, how she always seem to draw people to her.
Being genuinely interested in others does not cost us much. It just requires our willingness to become more humane and kind without expecting anything in return.
Those who abhor rudeness are a lot like Arifa – they care a lot for people they know and they don’t know. And it does not matter an iota to them if others reciprocate the kindness they show.
Our awareness and respect for social etiquette also increases when our interactions with people are given regard and courtesy.
Refraining from insolence or impertinence helps us give importance to etiquette.
Our sensitivity in showing cordiality also helps us become more culturally aware.
For example, while a business card may not be treated with reverence by many, in many countries, stuffing it into the pocket, folding or scribbling on a business card is a extreme insult for the card giver. The business card is seen in many cultures as a representation of the owner’s personality, thus any brusque treatment of the card is seen as an act of appalling discourtesy.
Another beautiful virtue we can forget should we enjoy being rude is not responding to compliments with geniality. As we overcome the negative desire to be rude, we will find it natural to develop the grace to receive compliments.
Though the inability to accept compliments gracefully is very commonly seen among people who are shy and introverted, it is pronounced in the case of rude individuals. For them, it not due to their modesty or embarrassment that makes them refuse the compliment but their suspicion regarding the motives of the person complimenting them.
For many, a criticism is a personal attack and a compliment sends them “flying ecstatically”. In the case of individuals prone to rudeness, this is a bigger challenge. Not only is criticism – well meaning criticism not considered to be given a thought, but with their natural suspicion towards compliments, it is next to impossible for them to hear both with serenity!
Being polite and courteous allows us to make an attempt to face Criticism and Compliments with composure.
In Rudyard Kipling’s memorable poem “If”, he speaks of stoicism when in the face of triumph and disaster. Interestingly, if we were to look at implementing this same philosophy regarding compliments and criticism in our life, we benefit.
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
How? We acquire a serene state of mind and understand the value of responding to compliments and criticism with merely mild philosophical contemplation .
Our inner control of emotions would enable us to calmly analyse the honesty of the criticism and the authenticity of the compliment, respond with civility and move on. There certainly is no dire necessity to be in a state of fury or a state of bliss after receiving either.
Another opportunity that we lose in our urge to be rude is learning to develop and empower others.
The patience and interest to help others grow is forgotten when we are brusque and disrespectful.
If we are sensitively aware of others feelings and the value of encouragement in improvement and development, we would certainly think carefully before a rude outburst. Other than creating a plunge in confidence and self esteem, rudeness cannot ever be given any respect in its role in empowerment.
Of course, there are cases, where people indeed succeed working with rude bosses to merely prove to them their worth. These cases, however, do not reflect the impact of politeness or civility in human empowerment.
Taking into account the benefits of refraining from disagreeable and unpleasant behavior, we have have far more to gain rather than lose by being a civil, polite and courteous member of society.