How often do we feel entitled to be rude when we're unhappy about something? It's as if unhappiness grants us permission to behave like brats. Unfortunately, this attitude is all too common, especially in restaurants where people become nasty when they don't get what they want. But should money really buy manners? Perhaps a little more courtesy would go a long way in solving these problems.
On several occasions, I've found myself apologizing to wait staff on behalf of my friends or family for their rude behaviour. Instead of fighting with my loved ones over the right way to behave, I prefer to address the matter privately with the wait staff and offer my apologies. It's important to remember that the "bad service" is not intentional. Everyone is doing their best, even if their best falls short of our expectations.
There are countless ways to handle bad service, unhappiness, and rudeness, but being rude should never be one of them. It only reflects poorly on our own character, integrity, and self-control. What's worse is that some rude individuals take pride in their behaviour, completely oblivious to the fact that there's nothing to be proud of.
When we don't get what we want, speaking rationally and kindly usually yields better results. I firmly believe that no rude person has ever truly achieved what they desired in the end. They may think they've gained something, but in reality, they accumulate a lot of negative karma!
So why is kindness so challenging to practice? It should be the fundamental principle in all religious and spiritual teachings. Yet, many who proudly identify with a particular faith treat others as if they are owned by them. We've all heard stories of individuals leaving their religious institutions after an hour of prayer, only to curse and swear at someone in the parking lot simply because they didn't get what they wanted. What's the point of that one hour of religious practice?
Witnessing moments like these prompts us to re-evaluate our values and reflect on our own slip-ups. We should always learn from the mistakes of others; otherwise, their errors are a complete waste.
Kindness can be a form of meditation. Practice being kind to everyone and everything, from cats and dogs to lizards and beyond. If kindness feels unfamiliar, remaining silent is the best course of action. As my teacher used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." It's sound advice.
Dealing with rude people can be incredibly challenging. Take a deep breath and count to ten. Remember, losing control isn't worth it. Sinking to a level that damages your mental and emotional well-being is never beneficial. If being kind to others is challenging, at the very least, be kind to yourself. With practice, it becomes easier.
In the end, kindness is a true sign of strength.
© Shamala Tan 2018, edited in 2023
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Shamala Tan is an author, spiritual entrepreneur and healer. Her work focuses on transforming the lives of others on the spiritual, emotional, mental and earthly levels.
One of her success stories as an author is to be featured alongside New York’s bestsellers Sonia Choquette, Robert Allen, Arielle Ford, Marci Shimoff as well as Christine Kloser in the book Pebbles In The Pond.
Shamala’s clients include small business owners, holistic practitioners as well as those seeking to find more significant meaning and value in life. Shamala offers laser coaching to her clients on a one-to-one basis or in a group environment, offline as well as online.