Please and thank you
I often feel that in today's world we are all so busy and in such a rush to get our point across that we sometimes forget the simple value of being gracious and polite. For those of us dealing with a chronic disease like RA, those simple gesture are welcomed. Beyond that, as patients and fellow disease sufferers, we should practice what we expect others to extend to us.
I have to admit that I find myself often responding to some emails or twitter posts in a sometimes abrupt way. Not intended by any means, but nonetheless that is how it appears. Twitter by its very nature forces us to respond and post in a very brief way. Unfortunately that may also be interpreted as being curt or even impolite and dismissive. I really limit myself when it comes to Twitter posts to mostly passing on links or some other information related piece as opposed to something more substantial or meaningful. I save those for articles, blog posts or emails.
I recommend that we all try to stop and really contemplate before we respond to an email or FB post to make sure the person we are "chatting" with clearly knows that we have taken the time to "listen" to their point of view or thoughts. Only then should we respond and do so with respect and care. It is so easy to just spew out our ideas on social media sites, often giving no thought to how it might be perceived by the reader(s). I am certainly guilty of this from time to time when my emotions get the best of me but I am resolving to no longer posting thoughtlessly. It is a great goal to strive for in this world of angry and aggressive posting that only serves to fuel anger and bullying.
In the "real" world politeness seems to be a lost art at times. Instead of expecting it as a matter of course I find myself surprised when someone extends gratitude or graciousness to me. That is not the way our world should behave towards one another. I personally try to express my thanks to anyone and everyone who is kind, hardworking, caring, etc.
That goes for the medical folks we all interact with. The folks who provide our care deserve our appreciation and respect. They have very challenging jobs, demanding them to deal with circumstances that would wear out the heartiest among us. For example, I know when I have to deal with my insurance company I am glad there is not a roof nearby or I just might jump! Imagine the folks at my physician's office who have to do that daily!!! Oh my!!!
Another example of politeness lost is in our interactions with other folks who may be suffering from their own diseases or difficult circumstances. I find that even though people ask me how I am doing and express a passing interest in what RA is, their eyes glass over fairly quickly once that initial "how are you?" is expressed. Genuine attention from others and for others is hard to come by these days. Resolve to try to be truly engaged when you are speaking with others.
Active listening is a form of politeness for sure. It means that you completely engage with the person you are conversing with, hearing and assimilating their thoughts, often reflecting them back as you respond. I have a few good friends who are amazing listeners and I think of them as role models.
In this season of love and joy, let us all try to bring back some of the politeness and courtesy that is so crucial to a civilized world.
Check-in: As we start a new year, how are you feeling?