What does it mean to be gracious? The dictionary defines gracious as “courteous, kind and pleasant or pleasantly indulgent.”
I see examples of gracious living every day, and examples of the antithesis of gracious living, as well. Money is not required to live graciously; class is.
We have recently had open displays of poor etiquette: Serena Williams’ outburst at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Kanye West hijacking the microphone at the MTV Video Music Awards, and regular outbursts of anger (cursing, pounding clubs into the ground) by Tiger Woods on the golf course. These are all very public examples of poor etiquette and manners, but we see it every day in our lives. We have the phenomenon of road rage that has escalated from mild irritation with another driver to drivers killing other drivers for a real or perceived driving infraction. People on the bus or the train don’t offer their seats for women or the elderly.
I found this list of the Ten Characteristics of a Gracious Person and it’s right on. Here it is:
1. A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise
2. A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another
3. A gracious person is always thanking others
4. A gracious person doesn’t monopolize the conversation
5. A gracious person doesn’t try to play “one up-manship”
6. A gracious person pays attention to people
7. A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate
8. A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others
9. A gracious person understands that he/she is not indispensable (indispensable)
10. A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees
When we live graciously we give a gift to the world that spreads like wildfire. Can you imagine what the world would look like if we had more people like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Cary Grant, or Derek Jeter? By living graciously we affect everyone around us in a positive way, thereby helping us get more of what we want. In the case of personal service this means service providers that are happier, more loyal, more willing to serve, and that’s just the beginning. When you treat people with the respect they deserve and really mean it, people want to do a better job for you. It’s not about how much you’re paying someone that makes them happy (though it is important to be fair), it’s how you treat them that really counts. Their life will be positively affected, and because of this, yours will be too.