A young woman was sitting with her boyfriend at an employment service center. They were mouthing off to one another with copious use of swears. I witness these types of scenes all the time and have never thought to say anything. It's really none of my business and I'm not the type to jump into confrontational situations, even with those I feel safe with (apparently, I'll do really well in China, since the Chinese abhor confrontation), let alone some unpredictable strangers.
My friend RC didn't leave it alone, though. RC is about 60, but doesn't look a day over 40 and is a devout Christian. She's at church probably more than once a week and carries the spirit with her every day. She wasn't angry at these two young people for swearing and carrying on, though, she was concerned. She went right over to that young woman and told her "I know your mother raised you better than that" and on and on, ending with "You've got to respect yourself." It was really touching and I think about that a lot.
You've got to respect yourself. Swearing out in public is not only offensive, but may also be the only indicator on which a person can base their opinion of you. It's our verbal appearance. E and I noticed today that we've been swearing a lot. I tried to cease swearing for one day and whenever I think about it, the swears come out unconsciously. I'm almost certain there are days that I don't swear, but these are probably days I don't speak much at all.
I made a goal a while ago to clear my closet of clothes that I can't wear in public. Not only the ripped and stained, but also the too trashy that I wouldn't want my patients to see me wearing. I'm also going to really work on the swears - maybe replace them with prayers. Instead of swearing at the driver going so incredibly slow in front of me, I'll pray for them to reach their destination safely and give thanks for clear and open roads.
At any rate, I'm thinking about what it means to respect myself and how I express that in the world. I'm also thinking about "fake it til you make it" and how we become the person we show the world we are - for example, if I show the world that I am a person who doesn't swear (much), I will become that person. We grow through practice of the manners and mannerisms we want to have. Please remind me that just because I haven't been ___ doesn't mean I can't be - it just takes practice.