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We definitely need more of this!

Posted by Tanea Smith on

Time is really flying, isn't it? You'll get no complaints from me, as August is one of my favorite months. It brings us a few weeks closer to fall which means not only a changing of the leaves, but also the return of my favorite primetime shows.

August is also National Civility Month. I won't get too much into politics here, but I will say that it seems our country is going to hell in a hand basket. I meannnn..... you just can't make this stuff up. The shenanigans in Washington are proof that we are sorely lacking a few things.

This 24-hour news cycle along with the endless memes accompanying every breaking news story have started me thinking about what civility really looks like. Here are four things we can all do today to make life just a little bit better:

1. Listen - We're busy. As a society, we're overstimulated, overlooked and sometimes over- booked. However, we all have a desire to be heard. Above the noise and through the chatter we have something to say and we're fighting for a safe space to express it. Lend an ear to someone who really, truly needs it. My mentor, Ms. Elayne, is 82 years young and not in the best of health. We speak once a week by phone and she tells me it makes her feel alive. Why? I listen. Truth be told, I benefit even more than she does from our  conversations.

2. Say “please” and “thank you” - Yes, I know. We learn these basic rules of etiquette as young children. But let's be honest. How many of us are guilty of running into a cafe for our morning coffee and racing out having skipped the pleasantries? Try going out of your way to make sure to say them. A little grace and sincere appreciation go a long way.

3. Stay calm - Every 60 seconds that you give in to anger costs you a minute of joy. There will always be something or someone that gets under your skin.  Whether it’s your nagging co-worker who just can't stop complaining or the driver who cuts you off only to race directly into a red light.  It won't be easy, but your blood pressure will thank you later. Refocus your energy and move along.

4. Don't engage : If I had a dime for every time someone tried to engage me in pettiness, I'd be a multi-millionaire. The number one culprit in my view is social media. I've seen relatives go to war on Facebook, to say nothing of complete strangers who fuel feuds that drag out on several posts. For what purpose? Everyone has an opinion, they're entitled to it, and that's that. Just because someone invites you to prom doesn't mean that you must show up. Politely decline!

How are you practicing more civility in your life? Leave your thoughts in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

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