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Rewards of being polite

I walked with a friend to the newsstand the other day. The friend bought a paper and thanked the shopkeeper in refined words. The owner, however, did not even acknowledge it.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2012 23:13 IST
LR Sabharwal

I walked with a friend to the newsstand the other day. The friend bought a paper and thanked the shopkeeper in refined words. The owner, however, did not even acknowledge it. “An unsociable person, isn’t he”? I commented as we walked away. “Oh, he’s like that every day”, shrugged my friend. Then why do you continue being so polite to him?” I asked. My friend, “Why should I let him determine how I’m going to act?”

Politeness is appreciated in all spheres of life. In any society, politeness enables us to live among people and interact with them successfully. We have to choose our words and thoughts carefully; no matter whether we are having a bad day or we are just tired of the way a person is behaving. It truly requires a lot of restraint and self-control to avoid reacting to provocative behaviour of others.

If our thoughts are garnished with love and peace, then there will be hardly any problem. But that is not the way of the world. Not all our thoughts and words are loving and peaceful. Many a time, we start with good intentions and want to be loving and caring, and yet fail to convert our intentions into good deeds.

When a person acts maliciously or derogatorily, a question arises in the mind whether it is desirable to sever all relations with such a person even if he happens to be a dear friend. I always say you have to do what’s good for you and do it with love. Severing something that is causing you mental anguish and problems may sometimes be necessary but one should not harbour negative feelings towards anyone. That will earn you trust.

We cannot control others and how they act or what they say, but we can certainly set an example by our deeds of love and care for others. But one should be assertive without being offensive while defending our rights and opposing a wrong.

We must always keep in mind that a polite approach will always spring pleasant surprises.