One of the first most visible characteristics that distinguish a person from the 21st century, from most of his predecessors, is the way in which our contemporaries behave themselves. Humanity has existed long enough on this Earth to understand, that there are certain unwritten laws, which govern our everyday life. It wouldn’t be a far-fetched statement if I say that obeying these universally accepted rules ensures if not a successful social life, then at least a feeling of personal satisfaction, that every one of us has the right to enjoy. Good manners express a life-friendly attitude that is generally appreciated.
However, like most of the virtues we take for granted, they are a quality that should constantly be worked on, since birth. “Homo sapiens” is indeed the “masterpiece” of our kind, but its main distinguishing feature-walking, although genetically predetermined, is nothing more than ability that some of us could never have exhibited. Nobody is born with inborn knowledge. We learn all the way, until the end of our lifetime. We are taught. No matter if it is by our parents, or any other patronizing institution that holds the responsibility to add another full-body social unit to the community.
It is something we acquire, so that it can later on successfully integrate us into the culmination of numerous lifetimes of work-modern day cultural society. Just like the process of learning to understand. To understand arts, science, the connection between us and these disciplines. To understand ourselves and try to find the answers to questions of existential caliber. Questions of deeper understanding such as the importance of good manners in modern society. Behaving yourself in an appropriate way is more than saying “sorry” or possessing immaculate table manners.
It’s more than the formally exchanged compliments between friends, more than the purely mechanical act of the business handshake. It’s much more than that. It is again about a mark that only human society seems to be imprinted with – emotional intelligence. What is emotional intelligence? It is oftenly spoken about nowadays, but few people understand its essence. There are a couple of synonymous phrases that are inevitably conjugated with it. Emotional intelligence is equivalent in meaning to words and phrases like “maturity”, “common sense” or simply “knowing how to get along”.
In terms of everyday behavior, it refers to “know-how” skills of how to manage anger constructively, be flexible, remain resilient despite of unfavorable circumstances, etc. Appreciated by many, but acknowledged by few, it is the invisible, but yet tangible backbone of our society. It is the skill, which when applied is bound to have a lasting effect on the selected target. Whether we take advantage of it for the use of good or harm, is regarded to as good or bad manners. Good manners are sometimes openly regarded as a silly, unnecessary fabrication of our modern society.
Some reach further by calling them superficial and even snobbish. Others provoke, arguing that manners are only meant to enlarge the social gap, existing between people with higher and lower status. Those who refuse to comply with the set of “how to behave” rules are usually rejected and avoided. In my opinion, what such prone to misbehave people fail to understand is the purely psychological side of the matter. Good manners are all about making somebody feel comfortable and respected, appreciated for his or her presence and attention. They would make the person standing against us, more positively predisposed towards us.
Life is mostly about getting what you want. Sometimes the deliberately set by us positive attitude of a person of personal importance, is all we need in order to receive an optimistic feedback regarding our cause. It is a bilateral process. Demonstrating good manners is a successful way of achieving via making a good impression. It is probably the best and shortest, immune to failure approach. Practicing our good manners should be handled with care. Although we may be doing our best at it, some can easily detect whether we are making all the effort only to win credits and are being insincere or if we really mean it.
It makes a world of difference! In the first case we are lying to both ourselves and the other participant in the action of interacting. We must be confident in our gestures and words, the reason not being countless hours of practice in front of the mirror, starring as a customer, friend, or the love of our life. Our behavioral patterns should be a system of well-preserved values and believes that govern our life. Good manners are an essential part of human interaction. They are the key to a locker. What does the locker stand for?
It is the world around you, waiting for you to cultivate the right attitude towards it. Courtesy, shaped throughout a conscious effort, acts as a skeleton key obeying our every command in opening what turns out to be a series of uncountable possibilities. Good manners are as important as official law is. Significant difference being that when disobeying it, we do not get called to court, but to our inside judge, from whom there is no escape, nor option of bribing. He is merciless and straightforward. No formalities, delay or sympathy. He stands for our consciousness.
Good manners are the base platform, responsible for the existence of our modern society. If it wasn’t for them, a collapse of the world as we know it would happen. In short, they are required from us so we can live happily among others. Modern society nowadays includes much more people than it ever has. The population of our home planet has risen up to approximately 7 billion. Within this great mass of people, many different forms of societies can be distinguished. Inevitably, there are communities, which express various cultural and religious believes.
There are different racial representatives, which have a different professional background and way of apprehension. No matter our perception of the world, we must always strive for tolerance and appreciation of those who don’t resemble us in any way. We must value the unique sides of individuals. We can never know in what way a different point of view, a different way of approaching an issue may aid us. Answers to questions may come from outside our own knowledge. They might come from someone or something that we have let to be a part of our horizon. Denial serves no one.
All social situations would be more pleasant if people would show this kind of consideration for each other. Good manners, when practiced on a regular basis, lead to a less troublesome perception of our problems. As banal as it may sound, they help us to look on the bright side of life. It is incredible how such minor things such as a smile can influence our day. Have you ever noticed how when you smile at someone, the person replies in the same manner? How can you describe the feeling of giving and receiving? For sure, the sensation is a pleasant one.
It has been proven that most social situations are more pleasant if we beforehand demonstrate how benevolent we are. Although trite, the tendency of “do as you would be done by” has proven to be efficient not only in the diplomatic world, but in everyday life situations as well. For those who do not believe in doing good, it is crucial to remember that despite of wielding the power today, tomorrow might turn out to be unfortunate for you. Judging even only through a pragmatic angle, it is good for your long-run well-being to be nice with those you encounter on the way up to the social status ladder.
You never know when you will meet them again if you go downwards. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all” is another useful advise passed from one generation to another. The fact that this aphorism has survived long enough for us to enjoy its indisputable, numerously proven wisdom, speaks for itself. This line of thoughts evokes another modern example of an important issue, regarding good manners. Pink Floyd, an English rock band, has a song called “Us and Them”.
A fragment of the lyrics is: “[…] good manners don’t cost nothing do they, eh? . Again, an astoundingly simple truth is revealed to us. Do good manners have a cost? Even if they do, it is certainly worth paying. Being patient, understanding and helpful can only beneficially strengthen your connection with people, building your self-confidence and communicational skills, which are an advantage acknowledged world-wide. There are instructions of how to behave ourselves in almost every sphere of social life. It is recommendatory to follow certain etiquette if you want to feel as an equal part of the community you are engaging in.
Rules in the field of good manners are to create a certain codex, which aims at standardizing and equalizing peoples’ behavioral patterns. This is needed in order to make one’s life easier by making predictable the caring moves others would make. A substantial reason in favor of good manners is the fact that they are highly promoted in most religious movements. Of course, since believes vary drastically in a direct ratio to the distance societies are far away from each other, a question arises. How can we know whether the manners discussed are “good” at least for the majority, if not for every person?
I think that it’s a purely psychological matter, an issue resolved by putting ourselves in the position of others and judging critically actions and their counteractions. I do believe that although what is good for one, may be bad for another and vice versa, there are certain universal manners that suit the bigger part of humanity. Influenced by the religion I profess, orthodox Christianity, the closest example that my mind associates with any conception related to how to carry yourself, behave, handle your manners or any other way you would like to call it, concerns God’s ten commandments.
Their common sense logic has been identified by both those who belong to the Christian world and others who support a different religion. It is thus visible and only reasonable to say that the idea of good manners dates back to ancient times and has successfully been preserved so far, which stands for an indisputable argument in favour of the significant role they play not only in modern, nowadays society but in any other one as well. Another widely spread religion, Islam, also proclaims a “how to behave” set of rules, which according to the Quaran ensures its followers an honorable place in heaven.
Buddhism teaches about the same positive attitude that one should have towards others and himself, regardless of the circumstances. Good manners, regardless of religion or believes act as a unifying factor, they bring people together. What can be more important than that? Every culture is related to some rules. Etiquette, for example, is thought by some as of a freak of civilization. . The reason is that it is almost impossible to know and be aware of how you should act in certain situations. There is business, social, dining, dinner, office, telephone, internet and table etiquette.
All of these vary to some extent, whenever they are to be applied in different parts of the world. In order to avoid confusing situations, it is only good to be up to date with information, concerning the country of residence or stay. For instance, did you know that in Italy it is a general practice for men to greet each other by hugging and kissing on each cheek? However, if you go to South Texas, the picture can only be described as opposite. There men stand about 3 feet away from each other, leading a regular conversation.
We can make a few conclusions, derived from knowledge of critically assessing social situations as the one described above. By complying with the established by a current community of people order, we successfully integrate ourselves, creating a good impression on others and rising our confidence and self-esteem. Such qualities are a prerequisite for prosperity within any modern societal group. Acquiring good manners has another benefit glued to it. By developing our self-discipline, required for achieving the desirable results in mastering our social behavior, we are gaining some other qualities along the way.
We re building up a tougher character, which is to help us in resolving many more problems, which were outside the area of our competency before the improvement was made. “What’s the logic? ”, some may ask. I answer that it is based on basic human psychology. The thing is that it is always easier to do whatever is in our personal favour, than to take others in consideration as well. Neglecting your personal needs is a necessary sacrifice in our world of repetitious everyday mutual compromise. Letting out the first thing that comes to your mind in a delicate situation, is probably one of the worst moves you can make.
You don’t bother to think about what could happen as a result of your impudence and there you have it – a breach in the relationship with the person assaulted. Because that’s just what we sometimes do to each other. We destroy other people’s mental balance by “rotten” attitude from which we have all suffered at some point of our lives. Surely many of us have become victims of unwanted noises, sounds smells but most of all-attitude. Toleration is a good policy but up to an acceptable point. It should not be promoted to an extent, where we must protect from each others’ egoistic intentions. Empathy” is a key word in understanding how you affect those around you.
This ability demands from us a tight relationship between our emotional part and the process of thinking. Tactful and accordingly are the ways to respond to the surroundings Good manners are amongst the first unwritten rules of a law that we have to obey if we want to enjoy a pleasant social life. Modern society is far from what it has been. It is way more complex and difficult to understand. However, there are basic, universally acknowledged principles of behavior that are appreciated, regardless of the societal differences one might encounter.
Good manners must be practiced to such a conscious extent, that they become natural for the individual, not just “trivialities of deportment”. A carefully developed manner on the other hand, surpasses the mechanically assimilated, paper-based etiquette that is mostly based on formalities. Good manners are respected and acknowledged everywhere. They are a sign of benignancy. They root from ancient times and are promoted in religions worldwide. In the bible it says: “What goes around comes around”(Genesis 29:1-30).
This small excerpt points out at a clear advice stating the significance of closely observing the tendency of our actions nd the possible response to them. Good manners carry an emotional charge aiming at bettering the relationships you have with people by purposely and methodically improving their condition. Manners are a way of achieving that is friendly and reliable. It is effortless and saves time compared to other, abusive methods of purchasing. In short the definition of good manners involves treating others with respect. A worthy to be paid attention to moment is that this respect should not come from any idea of hierarchy, but must stem from a realization of the divine equality between people.
George Bernard Shaw is a 19th century humanist Irish playwright. One of his most famous quotes deserves to be echoed throughout the centuries. He says (to Elizabeth Lunday-a freelance writer and journalist): “The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another”.
Courtney from Study Moose
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