Common Courtesy Isn't Common
You’ve heard it before; common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. There are many reasons for this. Often we are busy, stressed, overwhelmed, preoccupied or distracted. It’s more difficult to be courteous when we are suffering, tired, hungry, emotional or dealing with difficult circumstances.
Courtesy comes from the willingness to be generous. Like many of the most important things in life, it’s quite simple. It requires an other-centric perspective that allows us to acknowledge the fact that a small gesture can make the experience of another easier, more pleasant or happier.
It’s the little things that make us feel elevated, a genuine compliment about something that matters to us, a word of encouragement, a glance of acknowledgement, a smile, a light hearted word.
Although Portia’s often quoted speech in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice reflects on Mercy, the sentiment can easily be applied to the essence of hospitality. Each time we extend a graceful act of a hospitable nature to a guest, employee or customer, we ourselves heal a little and receive a taste of heaven.
“The quality of mer
cy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”
It’s a beautiful irony that when we give generously we receive. A formula that serves everyone.