In the end

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Ask any person if they consider themselves polite and well mannered and they will undoubtedly tell you that they believe that they are. They will heartily endorse their own virtues and emphatically state that they are infact most definitely polite and courteous. Although there is no doubt that there are those who may be as they say alas it seems to be that, these days at least, those persons are in a definite minority and on a steady decline. 

Even the most unobservant of us cannot fail to be aware when out and about of the general lack of regard for each other as there exists in our modern world. Rarely do people hold doors for each other any more, road courtesy is deplorable and general etiquette  is minimal at best. When reading of the sense of community spirit and general care for each other of bygone eras , it seems hard to equate that with the world we know today.   It seems that people just really do not care for each other any more and lives have declined to the point that most cannot see past their own center of gravity.

Working for a charity as i do means that i regularly deal with the public in large numbers each day and those people with whom i come into contact you would expect to be caring and courteous. There are definitely those kindly souls who really are both things but again sadly in rather smaller than expected numbers. People, i have found, are for the most part rude, aggressive, uncaring and selfish. 

Sadly it has been the experience of myself and many of my colleagues that what may be seen as ignorant disregard or general discourtesy in public is often greatly amplified when on the other end of a telephone. It seems the semi anonymous shield of it leads people to behave with much less regard than the would in a face to face situation. Despite telling myself never to be surprised by the behaviour of those faceless individuals i encounter, i nevertheless have gaped in horror at some of the aggressively rude responses i have received. People, it seems, forget to remember that we are all human too and perhaps in our place they too should be mildly affronted at being spoken to in such a way. Unfortunately they do not put themselves in our shoes  since for the most part i find often people have care and empathy that barely stretches past the length of their own nose. 

 I expect you look horrified right now and stand ready to leap to the moralistic defence of mankind but there is no escaping the truth of the matter.With the exception of a dwindling minority people in general are mostly not very nice at all.

 Sadly as i have passed through life in recent times i have witnessed behaviour towards others as to shock and sadden me deeply although i confess i really am less than surprised. Acts of road rage, abuse and profanity screamed in aggression for nothing much worse than failing to move aside for the aggressor. The fact that this person was not observing the proper rules of the road meant little for he considered himself due deference from anyone he met. Whilst instinct is to retaliate and respond in kind it does little good beyond escalating a situation already out of proportion for the imagined crime. Perhaps it lies to us to break the cycle and turn the other cheek lest we find ourselves guilty of the same.

Doors once held courteously open for whomever was following us are now mostly left to swing closed in the faces of those behind. The elderly struggle with shopping where once a helping hand would have offered to share the load. Snug and dry in their warm safe cars, drivers ignore those sodden souls shivering by the roadside hoping desperately for someone to allow them to cross. Once it would have been the norm to slow for those few seconds to help another but now it seems that arriving at your destination thirty seconds sooner is more important. 

Everywhere you look you cannot help but see the growing self absorbtion that seems to come as standard in this present day existence.  I wonder as i look around, which i do frequently for i am a keen people watcher, if people have just become so disenchanted with life that they forget just HOW to care.  I guess it would be all too easy, on the frequent receiving end of such treatment, to become angry or bitter and vow to behave in exactly the same way yourself. Granted you may feel better for it but ultimately does it really make you feel better to be one of the many? Is it really any harder to say please and thankyou, to hold out a hand to help or just take that few extra seconds to put someone else before yourself? I have and i do and no matter the response from others i shall always try and help if i can. I have to admit it is often rather amusing to see the surprise on the face of the other person since they clearly are not used to courtesy as a norm. 

Still as a sullen voice rudely tells me in no uncertain terms where to get off i sigh and wonder if perhaps it is a change that cannot be undone. Perhaps people only band together in times of great adversity and at others care little for anyone else. Perhaps it is not until you view yourself through the eyes of another that you realise just how much you are guilty of yourself. No it hurts little to put yourself out, to be less selfish and to make a little time where you insist you have none.

Because in the end it doesnt even matter.  Does it?

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Escape

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It should have been the stuff of nightmares and for all intents and purposes it was. She imagined time would have long since faded the memories but closing her eyes she could see with startling clarity events of a long lost youth playing inside her head. Hardly anything to smile about yet her mouth curved faintly upwards as she recalled some childish attempt at freedom. So simple in its innocence yet so profound in its efficacy, making her shake her head and marvel at an ingenuity borne of desperation from one so young. Had she really believed she could live in a tree?? Perhaps too many days seeking escape in tales of adventure had clouded her thinking yet this had been a most carefully devised plan. Childish yet naively effective if one did not look too deeply and seek fault where to her there there was none. Tarpaulins!! for a roof, she had decided, to keep out the rain and rope to construct all manner of furniture. Emulating heroes cast ashore on desert islands. Forced to improvise often most improbable necessities. That she had neither the skill nor the equipment to perform either task did not occur to her and hours were whiled away planning and dreaming of liberation.Waiting for the day to come when all would be prepared and the dream would at last be a reality. However unlikely this was, it afforded her a means of being anywhere but where she was and anywhere was better than here!!

She would have to hide she decided. The risk of discovery in daylight hours was too great a risk and so beyond the witching  hour was to be her time to risk leaving the safety of her refuge in search of food and supplies. Mentally forced to criminal activities in an attempt to survive she truly believed in the effectiveness of her plan. Blithely dismissing the small pang of conscience that prickled, telling herself this was unavoidable and not an option of choice. She knew well the difference between right and wrong for hadn’t she been taught it most frequently in the cruellest of manners, yet one sufficiently adequate as to produce the desired result. Yet even this did little to deter her. Hopeless misery obliterated all reason and she was beyond anything but a small glimmer of hope sprung to life in a well used imagination. Yes, a most effective plan were you not to examine it too closely and one most frequently put into practice, in her head at least, and strangely this was often enough. You cannot harm what you cannot reach and she was far far away happily swinging in the bough of her tree and that it was not real somehow mattered not at all. Yes she remembers and sometimes if you see her turn and smile at the sound of rustling leaves you will wonder if she is once again that small child. Adventuress and dreamer and inventor of a plan only worthy of the young.

When sometimes you’re the only one to blame

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I seem to have one of those natures where people often ask my advice, unfailingly practical and with a no frills bluntness that doesnt always get well received. Usually this is due to the fact that when asking advice people often do not really WANT your opinion, they merely wish you to parrot what they wish to hear in order to make them feel better. I have always warned my friends ‘if you do not actually want my advice then please dont ask for it’ Simple. 

Recently teen daughter has been having dramas with boyfriend and comes looking for advice which im happy to dole out and always have a free ear because i love her and dont like to see her upset. She listens but then the merry go round swings again and theyre back to square one because she chooses to disregard what i say since it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. I know i’m just some crazy old mom who was never a teenager, what do i know right?? 

Today she came to me with a cry i have heard from many of my friends ‘He treats me like rubbish’ followed by a wail and dissolving into tears. Now please dont think i’m heartless i am far from this but my practical advice has always been the same to every single one of them..

”they can only treat you how you ALLOW them to treat you”

The simple fact is keep permitting this treatment and you are giving off signals galore that this is acceptable and you are agreeable to it. The only way to stop being treated the way you are is to break the cycle and make it clear you are NOT going to tolerate it. Teen daughter then wailed ‘you should hear how he talks to me on the phone mum’ and i had to gently point out that she ALLOWED him to speak to her that way and that if he doesn’t get the message when she tells him she wont put up with it then she should just refuse to speak to him until he gets the idea.

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Perhaps i seem harsh, im really not im actually very caring but i see no sense in dispensing advice if it is not constructive for in that case it really is no advice at all. If all you need is a hug and a shoulder to cry on ive got more than enough of both and will always be there with that and a box of tissues. However having been on the receiving end of much bad treatment in my time i accept that in some small degree the person behaving that way is  at fault but ultimately the real blame lies with me for allowing it to keep happening. 

Sometimes when things keep occurring you just need to take a step back and have a long hard look at the things you tolerate and accept without question even when they are far from good for you. Because in the end you can only be treated the way you allow yourself to be and if this isn’t the way you would like then maybe the only one to blame is you!!