Posts Tagged ‘Courtesy’

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
Thich Nhat Hanh quotes (Vietnamese Monk, Activist and Writer. b.1926)

2 business people backs to each other
Have you ever been in the situation where an innocuous statement has been totally misunderstood and you have  found yourself  hot water as a result?  It’s not very pleasant and sometimes, even with the best will in the world you cannot get the other party to see what you were trying to say.

I believe it happens for a reason, not that we appreciate the lesson at the time, but it is usually a very good lesson to learn.  We are all individuals and we operate from our  own unique frame of reference. We have to simply because we all have different things to learn, at different times, and thus we have gaps in understanding each other   Having said that it most definitely doesn’t make for harmonious living or relationships.  In fact it can tear friendships or relationships apart.

business people arguing
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Humans are  strange creatures. We can wander through our lives in , barely aware of what is occurring around us, unless of course it happens to impinge on something we  have a vested interest in    Take for example, an accountant who is busily preparing his client’s tax returns. It is a busy period and his focus and attention is firmly fixed on getting those returns done, as quickly and efficiently as possible since his clients would like their refunds as soon as possible. If they are fortunate  enough to be receiving one that is.

What would happen if someone from , lets says, the ATO makes an appearance at his office and announces that the rules have  changed, not only that but it means that some, or perhaps all of the work this hard pressed accountant has already done will need to be reviewed or re done!    “Danger Will Robinson!”

The probably hard-working and mild-mannered accountant becomes hot under the collar at the cavalier way in which all his hard work has apparently been undermined. He gets upset and annoyed and heated words are exchanged. He hasn’t advanced his cause with the ATO in any way and may have  ensured his name has been noted for further scrutiny. Not a propitious outcome, is it?

So what has really happened?  The accountant has been preoccupied with his work and perhaps misinterpreted or misunderstood an innocuous statement by the ATO. representative.   The representative on the other hand has been upset at feeling attacked for delivering an insignificant  or perhaps a significant piece of information to help the accountant. Both parties are feeling aggrieved . Misunderstanding is an understatement!

confused person

image courtesy of bigisthenewsmall.com

If either person had been fully present with the other, paying attention to what was occurring around them the misunderstanding  would have been averted.  From this point the situation has two ways of developing: it can either degenerate further or common sense may prevail and it may be smoothed over .  The sad fact is that if each person had paid attention to the other, been fully present with the other than no misunderstanding could have occurred.  It also means that each person would have been showing respect towards the other paying the other the attention they deserve.

The  unfortunate part of this story is that it is repeated often, daily, hourly, by the moment because we have fallen out of the practise of fully being with another.  Our conscious mind is elsewhere and the subconscious substitutes what it feels may fit the bill at the time.   We need to be mindful of our thoughts, our words and our actions and the effect they may have on another.  We need to remember that if we want to have the attention we deserve we must also  give that respect to others.


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It is, at the end of the day, only moment of time to ensure we have heard the message being delivered and we do that by being fully present with whomever we are engaged with at the time.  If we pay attention to what is said, ensure we understand what is being said, confirm the message if we are unsure, we are, in essence, in fact, showing that the person and the message  are valued. Wouldn’t that be a fabulous thing to offer everyone we had dealings with, be they work colleagues or family and friends?

I know that I personally would be much more grateful for the time and effort being shown to me, to allow me to remain fully up to date with whatever was occurring.  Being able to be fully present with someone, perhaps even enjoy the exchange, forge a better relationship, make future work together something pleasant and not to be avoided sounds ideal. The benefits far outweigh any possible downside. Is there a down side?

dog sled team

image courtesy of hammerweb.co.uk

Even a dog sled team must work in unison, harmony, despite the “pecking order” to achieve the result of forward motion.
So what do we need to do to ensure that the situation doesn’t arise where someone says, “Did I say That?”  It’s simple, we need to be fully present in the moment, pay attention to whomever or whatever is occurring and hear the message before we start to interpret it. If we can all do that there would be much less angst, misunderstanding and ill will floating around.  The world would be a better and more harmonious  place for all. It’s definitely worth pausing and thinking about.

happy multicultiral group

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“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~Henry Ward Beecher


happy picture

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