Etiquette: patience, sympathy and kindness
As we come out of the lockdown, we emerge different. Etiquette involves remembering there are other people in the world.
Etiquette columnist Catherine Newman says the definition of etiquette is derived from French culture and means “little ethics” which is exactly why the practice is more significant than ever. Newman states, “Etiquette is a whole world view and system of values; it’s how we live in a community with other people and is almost synonymous with kindness. Etiquette involves remembering that there are other people in the world with their own needs, feelings and grief. People who are taking up space and oxygen near you who are different than you.”
“I don’t think politeness means that you look the other way when something is hard or sad,” continues Newman. “For me, part of etiquette is not looking away from other people’s grief or any kind of injustice. I think that means saying to yourself all day every day, ‘What’s required of me in this moment?’ Empathy is probably the biggest governing principle of it. It’s forgiveness, flexibility and generosity – the pillars of behaving in community in a loving way. But it’s also courage.” She adds, “If your grandfather makes a racist joke, you have to be brave. Your job there is not to smile politely. Your job is to muster the courage to say something.”
So, Dear Reader, I am asking you to have a little patience with your community, a little sympathy for your community and A LOT OF KINDNESS in your community. We will ALL benefit.