Courtesy, change, and the bumpy road along the way.


In my post about Dojo Kun, How living by the rules can help you break all your boundaries, I talked about the principle of courtesy (also known as respect) which is a common part of all Dojo Kun I have come across, first hand or otherwise.

Recently I have been thinking a lot more about the importance of courtesy and respect, both inside the dojo  and outside. I have made some big decisions and whilst these decisions primarily affect me, they also impact on others. The decision making process has been neither quick nor easy, which for me is somewhat unusual.

Outwardly nothing has really changed, and, for various reasons, I have only told a few people (ie those directly involved and my direct personal supports). For me, telling the people directly involved has been difficult; perhaps more difficult than it could (or should) have been.

I wanted to handle the situation in a courteous and highly respectful way. For me that involved explaining my decision. For the people involved though, this was not something they wanted (or needed?) to hear from me. Initially this made me feel frustrated, unheard, and disrespected, but, when I stepped away from my hurt feelings and looked at the situation more objectively, I began to see things differently. There were probably a number of reasons for the reaction I got, and probably none of them had anything to do with me personally.

However, in the interim period, I will admit that my perceptions of how I was being treated were that I was being seen as a naughty child, not being offered any courtesy or respect, and due to this, I was extremely uncertain whether my plans would work out at all.

Despite this, and through the awkwardness, angst, and discomfort I was experiencing, I continued to try and show courtesy and respect, even though I wasn’t feeling it reciprocated. I continued to try and be objective and mature and patient (something that isn’t really that natural for me)  and have faith that things would improve with some time and space. And, lo and behold, for whatever reason, things do seem to have turned a corner. I cannot claim to be responsible for the change, but I am very glad of it just the same.

In this world we need to be able to get along with lots of different folks. We may not always share the same opinions or ethos. We may have very different world views. Mostly though, there will be at least some common ground. The glue that can help stick us all together is called courtesy, the grease that can keep the wheels turning, is called respect. Without them we would all be living on our own little planets, sharing nothing, and in return having nothing shared with us, and this would be a great shame.


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