Our world is in turmoil and we can do better. During the past few months, we have witnessed a massive amount of social unrest and bad behavior in our beloved cities and streets. It’s time to focus on healing. Being considerate of others means that you are careful not to cause inconvenience or harm to others. Listed below are a few behaviors to focus on which will make you a more kind, considerate citizen.
1. Keep an open mind.
Every person is entitled to their own opinion. Their opinion might be different than your opinion and that’s okay. Telling another person that their opinion is wrong or stupid can lead to conflict and hard feelings. Allow others to express their opinion without immediately reacting. You might be surprised and learn something new.
2. Show respect.
You show respect by being polite, kind and following the rules. If a business has implemented rules to keep their customers safe during the pandemic, just follow the rules, wear the mask. You earn respect by consistently doing the right thing. Our leaders, our elders, our authority figures and people in position of influence who work for us to do the right thing deserve our respect.
3. Listen and learn.
There is an old saying that the person who speaks the most learns the least. There is so much to learn and most of us don’t even know what we don’t know. Becoming an active listener takes practice and focus. Active listeners focus on the other person, they don’t interrupt and they don’t try to finish the sentence for the speaker. So many people are busy thinking of their response instead of really listening.
4. Be aware of your own bias.
There are so many different types of bias and we all have bias. Unconscious bias, affinity bias, confirmation bias, halo effect, etc. When you are aware, you make better decisions. Thinking that everyone is like you is unrealistic. We need to acknowledge and embrace diverse thinking.
5. Respond with empathy.
Empathy is trying to understand where another person is coming from. Trying to put yourself in their shoes. Responding with empathy takes time and thoughtfulness. Saying to someone, I understand that you are frustrated or I understand how difficult this must be for you is empathy.
6. Do no harm.
Words can hurt, behaviors can hurt. Use appropriate words, stay calm and be nice. Smashing a window is not nice. Yelling at someone is not nice. Taking something that does not belong to you is wrong. Damaging property is wrong.
7. Manage your stress and anxiety.
Change leads to an increase in stress and some people get very anxious when there is a lot of change. Take care of yourself and figure out how to manage your stress. Do whatever it takes; exercise, breathe, eat well, stop watching the news, call your mother, watch a funny movie.
8. Focus on being a positive communicator.
Positive words lift us up, negative words bring us down. Tell others what they can do, not what they can’t do. What will work, not what won’t work. Help solve the problem instead of complaining about a problem.
9. Think before you speak.
There are times when you have an undesirable or sarcastic thought. Thanks okay, just don’t say it. Keep your mouth shut.
10. Eliminate nasty words.
Insulting others is not okay. Cursing at each other is not okay. Clean up your language and be a role model for our children.
11. Don’t argue, walk away.
There are folks that want to fight. They are instigators. Just walk away. Be the better person. Chose to be the kind person. Agree to disagree.
12. Learn how to resolve conflict.
There will always be conflict in our world and in your life. You can decide to walk away or to deal with the conflict. People are usually not mad at you; they are mad at a situation. The approaches to conflict include avoidance, compromise, accommodation, collaboration and competing.
13. Mind your manners.
Pay attention to those around you and mind your manners. Hold the door open for others, say please and thank you. Smile at others and acknowledge when someone does something nice for you. Say you are welcome. Behave in way that would make your mother proud and wear your mask!
Please keep in mind that we are role models for our children. It has been difficult watching the bad behavior in our world and our kids are paying attention. It’s time to step up and be considerate of each other.