Good manners is not about using the correct knife and fork to put food into your mouth.

Good manners is about paying attention to what others may need to digest as a result of the words that come out of your mouth. It costs nothing to be kind. Words are very powerful. They have the potential to heal or wound. Being thoughtful is like anything we do in our lives. It requires reflection on our inner agenda.

What is my agenda here? Is what I want for the greater good of “me” or “we”? Is what I’m going to say going to bring me closer or further apart from the person in front of me? If it’s gonna bring us closer, then say it. If further apart, then can I try to find a kinder way of saying it? Am I saying it because its the right thing to say, or am I saying it because I need to be right in this situation?

Have I taken offense to how someone expressed themselves? Have I attempted to stand in their shoes or have I enquired why they did/said as they did? If someone close to me is behaving in a way that goes against how I wish to relate with others in this world, have I expressed that in a kind way? Have I thought to ask them are they ok? Are they struggling with anything?

Ultimately, it is our responsibility individually to meet our own needs. When we find people who have similar wants and needs to us, we relate in an interdependent way where everyone’s needs can be met. Do we express what we want clearly and kindly from the outset? It is our basic human right to live our life in a way that is right for us.

When we’ve entered into situations where our needs are not being met, it’s up to us to either accept that, or move on. We cannot expect the world to change so we’ll be happy. That’s codependency. If we got really honest with ourselves, we’d admit deep down that we knew the situation wasn’t right for us to begin with. We don’t have a right to be unkind because it wouldn’t change to suit us.

Kindness is the epitome of good manners. No matter what we’re faced with, we have a responsibility to try our very best to be kind to those around us. They may be fighting a battle we know nothing about. Reach out. Ask! We’re only human, and as human beings we are fragile at times. We’re all fighting our own inner battles. Reach out. Express that!

We’re not always kind, but we’re doing the best we can do in that moment with what we have. Can we accept that within ourselves? That we’re not perfect? Because when we can we’ll accept that others are just the same. Not perfect and trying their best too. Do we come out fighting and defending, or loving and communicating?

It all depends on how we relate with ourselves. When we’re loving, understanding and kind towards ourselves, we’ll be loving, understanding and kind towards others. How do we talk to ourselves? Are we kind to ourselves? Are we mannerly towards ourselves? What we bring to the table is our own menu.

Be kind, be kind, and then be even kinder. It’s a dish that’s digestible to every palate and can even transform bread and jam into a gourmet meal. Good manners and kindness are always in fashion. Get up, dress up, show up, and spread that kindness everywhere. Let it be the most beautiful accessory that you wear at the dinner table. It makes everyone sparkle. Spread your sparkle everywhere you go.