Civility by Diana Olson:

The alliance of Professor PM Forni of the John Hopkins University Civility Project and my Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), whom with both I am deeply involved in, is seeking to create a civility epidemic worldwide. In May we presented Los Angeles with a civility proclamation, which is their commitment toward civility. Other cities are currently becoming involved in this project. We all are somewhat flawed in civility, but with more knowledge, hopefully we will desire to become more civil with kindness, consideration, and respect toward others. In this journey, you will benefit personally in relationships and professionally at your workplace.

I see civility and emotional intelligence as being inner-related. According to Daniel Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence,” emotional intelligence includes self-control, enthusiasm, persistence and the ability to motivate oneself. He believes there is a link between sentiment, character and moral instincts. CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise — and often fired for a lack of emotional intelligence. Empathy, the ability to understand and be sensitive to the feelings of others, is one of the most important character traits we can develop. Empathy involves emotional intelligence, which is using restraint in controlling emotional impulses, the ability to read and care about another's innermost feelings, and to use this knowledge to develop successful relationships in basic life skills. Controlling emotion and creating emotional balance can protect mental and emotional health.

Aristotle, in the Nichomachean Ethics, felt that the challenge was not emotion, but with the appropriateness of the emotion and its expression. He said, “Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.” He felt that another challenge is how to bring intelligence to our emotions and civility to our life.

Empathy and emotional intelligence are intertwined with civility in the way that we treat each other. All of these are within a framework of self and social awareness, self-management and the ability to manage relationships. This is a wonderful journey of knowledge, but not yet a destination for most of us.


DIANA OLSON, MA AICI CIP is a certified Etiquette & Image Consultant. She can be contacted at (626) 584-9761 oe online at www.dianaolson.com

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