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Civility: Self-restraint

August 18, 2010|By Diana Olson

Part 3: Results of the U.S. Civility Survey show that 89% of those surveyed see incivility as a serious problem in society; 78% feel civility has deteriorated over the last ten years, 90% think that incivility contributes to increasing violence and 83% feel that it is important to work in a civil environment. Incivility is a result of lack of self-restraint.

The 2007 John Hopkins University Baltimore Incivility Survey report called it the Terrible 10 Uncivil Acts and ranked them:

No. 10 — Using cell phones in public places. Turn off your cell phone or put on vibrate. Excuse yourself to make a phone call.

No. 9 — Smoking in a nonsmoking area. Smoke only in a smoking area

No. 8 — Misuse of handicapped areas. Respect the handicapped areas as only for the handicapped.

No. 7— Littering. Put your trash in a receptacle

No. 6 — Aggressive or bullying children. Report them to authorities.

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No. 5 — Jokes or remarks that mock race, age, gender, disability, sexual preference and religion. Show respect for others.

No. 4 — Treating work service providers as inferior. Acknowledge and show appreciation to them.

No. 3 — Taking credit for someone else's work. Be original or give credit to source.

No. 2 —Road Rage: Dangerous, reckless, aggressive driving. (Respect rules of the road)

No. 1— Discrimination in the workplace. This is illegal.

All of these acts can be corrected by using self-restraint, kindness, consideration and respect for others. I would add the use of diplomacy and tact in social and business conversations.

Professor P.M. Forni, of the John Hopkins University Civility Project, states, "It is important to refrain from idle complaints as it is an unwarranted spreading of misery. Complaining shows helplessness instead of assertiveness. One is more interested in assigning blame than in finding solutions, and it is rooted in the feeling of victimhood that life is unfair. Recurring and continuous complaints are unwarranted spreading of misery. Incivility breeds rudeness, conflict, chaos vs. peace and serenity. Restraint is an infusion of hesitation, thinking and thoughtfulness in everything we do with consideration of consequences."

Often in close relationships, people create flames out of sparks. They create bigger problems where they should be restraining their emotions, exercising calmness and exerting self-control in order to create solutions.

Success in a relationship depends on the way that we treat each other and saying less than we think. Often we show more emotional and physical restraint in the way we treat strangers, and take for granted those closest to us, while using little restraint. Those closest to us often get less consideration and respect, as if they are invulnerable to being hurt. Thus, close and important relationships deteriorate and suffer. Commitments to use restraint, discipline and self-control are essential for healthy relationships.

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