When I do actually get a chance to read during the long waiting hours in a the hospital I usually enjoy health books, religious books, and psychology books or magazines. One of which I read was, what I thought was an article, but when I looked it up again found it was a memoir. In Psychology Today Magazine there is a memoir written about a book called "I See Rude People". But the approach this woman uses seems to be just as rude as the perpetrators. In the magazine, there is a picture of her holding a fly swatter as if she is swatting all the rude people away. I admit I haven't read her book but it seems it's full of stories of her bullying politeness into people. I wanted to write a letter to voice my opinion. She might cover points in her book that I am talking about but for now I think this holds some merit...though I might have to tweak it a bit after actually reading her book.
While we are on the subject of rude people I must say reading your memoir convinced me that a major cause of rudeness is intolerance. Intolerance: a word that many of us don’t think of when hearing the words nice manners. Let’s think about it, what do those (as you put it) rude and inconsiderate people usually do when you stand up to them or ‘swat’ them? Most people are reactive in a defensive style carrying on the same insect abilities, instead of just ‘bugging us’ though, they sting us back.
My opinion, the best way to intervene would be through exercising tolerance and understanding. When we see a person it’s as if we only see the cover of a book. Remember the famous saying we always tell ourselves? Do not judge a book by its cover? While some can deceive by a luminous cover having nothing but boring dark legends within, others could possibly bear the opposite. In this example ‘I see rude people’ could be nothing but your misinterpretation of just a very bad way of dealing with everyday struggles. It could, by chance, land on a point of just forgetfulness of those around us. While yes, seemingly selfish of someone to forget that others, in fact coexist with them, we too are irritated by their interruption as if our existence is superior.
What’s hidden in the deep thick book with this rude cover? We don’t know for sure but let us look at a few statistics to remind us of the very struggles in one’s life that may or may not reflect poor judgment on how we behave with one another.
In the U.S. Depressive Disorders are at a whopping 18.8 million or about 9.5% of the population age 18 or over. One in three women will develop cancer in their lifetime, 12% of people have heart disease, 6,420,000 auto accidents a year, one in four girls is sexually abused before the age of 18, one in six boys before the age of 18, Altogether, Cancer diagnosis are 17.9 million, 1.3 million women are physically abused annually. According to FEMA, There were an estimated 1.5 million fires in 2008 and direct property loss due to fires was estimated at $15.5 billion.
These are just a few major incidents and catastrophes people face. As the list goes on, one might say the chances of one of these problems to occur in someone is higher than not. I’m not trying to justify rude or inconsiderate behavior but rather demonstrate examples of the hidden life ‘behind the scenes’ of all of us. Perhaps if we were exposed to a small fraction of someone’s secret how more likely would we, not only tolerate, but sympathize and understand?
Coming from a nation that preaches “tolerance” to others worldwide, in order to prevent and stop wars, imagine a society that practices what they preach within our daily lives of driving to work, grabbing coffee or standing in a checkout line. Though most of our differences do not bring us to the battleground it does breed bitterness, grudges and negativity towards one another.
For Christians it’s “turn the other cheek” for Muslims they are said to makes 70 excuses. In a modern unreligious world let’s just call it freedom to tolerate and an opportunity to exercise patience. Putting our energy in kind actions full of wisdom and good advice, instead of attacks or demeaning ploys. Would we stab someone’s wounds? Of course not. So let’s put away the ‘swatters,’ and intervene with an extension of our hands and smiles and show those people the right way to deal with life no matter what dark secret rests between their pages…and ours!