Put Your Best Foot Forward:
How Good Manners Enhance your professional and personal life.
“If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.” -Unknown
Table Leg 1: TRUST
It seems appropriate to delve into the meanings of the legs on the table as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.
The table is a metaphor for life.
It’s four legs symbolize the four tenants of good manners. The surface of the table represents the one force driving all of human behavior.
The four legs of the table are Trust, Respect, Love, and Honor. It takes all four legs of the table to live a principled, well-mannered life. If one of the “legs” is missing or lacking, then our persona will be off-balanced, just as a four-legged table with only three legs would be unbalanced.
It helps us to understand the meaning of the four legs if we look at a real life example. Joanie, a successful, driven, well-educated individual, has risen through the ranks of leadership in her company, finally landing in a vice presidential role. However, former co-workers who worked with Joanie in previous positions, find Joanie to be overbearing, sharp in her tone and demeaning to people on a regular basis. In short, the former co-workers do not trust her, as many of them were treated in a less than respectful way under Joanie’s supervision.
Trust is a tenant we cannot necessarily hold in our hands, yet it is very real.
Oxford Universal Dictionary: Trust: The quality of being trustworthy, fidelity, loyalty, reciprocal regard, to have faith or confidence, emotionally healthy give and take.
Trust is a trait that if practiced regularly, can be strong as steel. On the other hand, if trust is violated (by someone or something), it becomes very fragile and fleeting.
Imagine that each of us has an emotional bank account. It resides within our heart, and when people grant us compliments or positive regard, it is, in effect, a deposit into our emotional bank account. It builds us up. We receive a promotion. Cha-Ching—another deposit into our emotional bank account. Over time, if we live our lives with integrity and trust, our emotional bank account becomes filled to overflowing. We feel all of the blessings of life, and indeed, interest is being ‘earned’ on our account for life is so full and affirming.
But what happens if we feel disrespected? Or someone is rude or mean to us? Maybe they treat us as being invisible (I call this the ‘Casper’ effect). Or, even toxic to us. We may feel the rejection of job loss, or a health scare. A family member ignores us.
Each time a life event happens in which you may feel excluded, disregarded, spurned or refused, this causes a ‘withdrawal’ on your emotional bank account. Even if we say to ourselves, “I’m okay…glad it didn’t work out…”, our bodies will still feel the effect of the denial. And over time, if enough denials happen, our emotional bank account could become overdrawn or “in the red”.
The only thing that will get your emotional bank account back into the black is for the rejection/denial to be neutralized through an honest, sincere apology, with a promise to honor you going forward. (The scar of the rejection will always remain with us, as a reminder to not repeat this scenario. This is the body’s way of protecting us.)
Trust is much like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube. Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is very difficult to insert it back into the tube.
Once trust is gone, it is very difficult to regain. Not impossible, but very difficult.
As we gather at our tables for the Thanksgiving holiday this month, let us respect and honor those who share the table with us.
Let us always build our table longer to include others.
The subsets of Respect: Humility, Esteem, Value, Appreciate, To Notice
Take the time to notice and value someone this Thanksgiving. Express appreciation to those who make the food on our table possible.
Most importantly, give someone a ‘deposit’ in their emotional bank account:
Hold the door
Use Please and Thank You
Offer to Help
Pay a compliment
Clean up your mess
Wash your hands often
Present a rose
Ready, Set…Time to Say Please and Thank You again.
COMING NEXT: Leg 2: Respect