An ideal homemaker is lovely to look at and lovely to be around…She is gracious and thoughtful and is consequently adored by her family and admired by all who know her. ~Daryl V. Hoole, The Art of Homemaking (1967)
Is it just me? Or does it seem like people feel more comfortable being mean and snarky than they used to be? It’s as if everyone suddenly got an attitude adjustment in the wrong direction.
Maybe I shouldn’t write this while recovering from a concussion and my thoughts are still a bit scrambled but I am going to anyway. Why? Because I’ve been hearing and reading about too many relationships being destroyed because rules of decorum have been thrown away.
The quote from our midcentury mentor, Mrs. Hoole, is making think it is time we have a reminder lesson on “how to play well with others.”
Never Discuss Money, Religion, nor Politics
There used to be a rule that you don’t discuss money, religion, nor politics in social settings. With the breaking down of manners, this rule is being violated over and over again. And the violation is primarily aided by social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
When the rule is violated, the older parts of our brain take over. These parts of the brain are more impulsive and are the source of irrational emotions. I believe this is the source of our society’s addiction to outrage.
We’ve become so addicted to outrage that we we’ve become susceptible to information that preys upon that sense of outrage. And the constant binge-diet of this outrage inducing information becomes overwhelming.
When we are outraged by everything, we cannot think logically and rationally. We are in survival mode.
And, anyone who disagrees with us about something we are feeling outraged about is suddenly our enemy. We begin to demonize the person.
If we want to live by midcentury values, this demonizing and outrage has to stop.
Please note that I’m not pointing fingers. And I’m not trying to silence anyone. (In case you wondered: I am a moderate not affiliated with any political party)
But we have to get the out-of-control emotions out of the way so that the newer parts of the brain can do what they do best: find common ground.But we have to get the out-of-control emotions out of the way so that the newer parts of the brain can do what they do best: find common ground. Click To Tweet
One way to soothe the outrage is to use multiple sources to get information. But even then, we have to be careful since only a handful of companies own most of the media sources. And their goal is profit, not the public good.
My personal policy is to get news from sources that still engage in long-form print journalism. Additionally, I strive to get at least one liberal and one conservative viewpoint from these sources, such as the New York Times and National Review. The advantage of these types of sources is that their websites aren’t filled with breathless clickbait headlines. As I’m reading the articles, I try to “read between the lines.” My goal is to better understand rather than reinforce my beliefs. If I start feeling an emotional reaction, I allow myself to sit with the uncomfortableness and learn from it instead of immediately rejecting it.
I wish I could say that I never discuss money, religion, or politics on Facebook. I do. But I am making a concerted effort to share my thoughts with only my family. In fact, I made the decision many years ago that my personal Facebook page would only include family members (parents, siblings, and their children). That way I can keep it as my “safe place” to enjoy daily family reunions.
Encourage One Another – Especially Someone With Whom You Disagree
In my job at the university, I spend a lot of time ensuring that people feel safe with me. After all, if they don’t feel safe, then they aren’t going to trust that I have their best interests in mind. I am asking them to become quite vulnerable and take risks when they work with me to help them achieve their goals.
The contentious nature of the American election has left a great deal of people feeling unsafe. Even people we wouldn’t think would be fearful are afraid. Wherever we land on the political continuum, we are all grappling with a sense of things slipping away and those feelings influenced how we voted.
But, as President Franklin Roosevelt told Americans a long time ago, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
As Modern Retro Women, let’s make it our mission to ensure that the people around us feel emotionally safe…even if we disagree with themAs Modern Retro Women, let's make it our mission to ensure that the people around us feel emotionally safe...even if we disagree with them. Click To Tweet
It is within those cones of safety that we can begin to both listen and hear others. It is within those cones of encouragement that we can find common values.
Truly encouraging those around us enables us to become thoughtful and gracious. Our love for others can’t help but shine through and that love is returned to us.
Rules of Decorum – Be Gracious and Thoughtful
As we go about our day, let’s remember that there was a reason people observed the rules of decorum if they wanted to be loved, or at least respected, by those around them.
For those of us who are choosing to live by the best midcentury values, there really isn’t a place for us to be snarky and in “mean girl” mode.
Let’s be the role models our midcentury mentor, Daryl Hoole, encourages us to be by being thoughtful and gracious.
To your fabulous Technicolor life!
Do You Want to Live a Gracious and Elegant Life?
Subscribe to the Modern Retro Woman newsletter to receive the Five Days to a More Gracious and Elegant Life mini-ecourse. Oh, and did I mention the instant access to the wardrobe planning printable when you subscribe? Yes, indeed!