Friday, November 18, 2011

For Sale: Respect and Courtesy-No Longer Needed

I was intrigued (to say the least) on Thursday when someone suggested that the high levels of respect and courtesy that I show others implied that I “must be up to something” and therefore I should tone it down.

I found this fascinating and disappointing but mostly, after I had gotten over the shock (and, admittedly, a little anger) I found it sad.

I think it is sad that someone perceives a world where respect and courtesy aren’t common and therefore believes that people are only nice to others when they want something.

It is sadder when such people ask that high levels of courtesy and respect be toned down when in fact, the world needs elevated levels of both more than ever.

I guess there is a mistaken belief that toning down courtesy and respect will help the person feel more comfortable since it will confirm for them that people like me are not “up to something”.

Maybe in such situations, I should stop being so courteous and respectful.  Maybe I can sell both on eBay as someone once tried to sell their soul.

In fact, to stop being so courteous and respectful would in essence be selling my soul.  It is how I am wired, it is something I am respected for in turn by others and it is something that I believe needs to be cultivated in the world.

So perhaps the opportunity is not to tone down my courtesy and respect but to pour it on and demonstrate that there are no conditions attached to high levels of both.  It is given as it is intended – no strings attached and no ulterior motives intended.

I give it because I believe that every person should strive to as much as they can.

And I give it because I believe that the other person deserves it.

So on second thought, I’m not going to put them up for sale on eBay.

I’m going to do what I try to do everyday … to give it away as much as possible.

And maybe …. just maybe … I will be able to convince someone else that courtesy and respect doesn’t always mean an ulterior motive is at play.

And if I fail, I will have at least lived by my core values instead of compromising them to satisfy the narrower view of someone else.

“To thine own self be true”.

In service and servanthood,


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