‘Considerateness’ is the quality that makes us thoughtful to regard the feelings or the circumstances of others. If we are considerate to one another, the life we live runs smoothly. We live not in a world of objects but in a universe of relationships. And our relationships last longer only when we are considerate to others. We cease to be considerate to others when we are overpowered by selfishness and have no love and compassion. Sir James M. Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan, had rightly said: “If you have love, you don’t need anything else. If you don’t have it, it does not matter much what else you have.”
Tensions prevail in families whose members have no considerateness. Both husband and wife are working members but it is generally seen that all the members of such a family are disturbed only because they are not considerate to one another. While travelling by train or by bus, we can see how some travellers fall out in absence of considerateness. However, some young travellers voluntarily leave their seats for the elderly people. Likewise, the needy people or the people in distress get help from the considerate people. The fact is that our existence and identity depend on others. We are all related to one another in some way or the other. At the same time, it can’t be denied that we are not equal, nor can we be. Many factors work in shaping the life of a person. Those persons who are always in need, should be helped by those who can easily afford to help them. And it is possible only if they are considerate enough. Hence, there is altruism or benevolence along with considerateness.
A question arises whether we are to be considerate to a person whose intention is suspicious. Never. We are to be considerate to the people who do not seem to have been taking the undue advantage of our considerateness. Though ‘there is no art to find that mind’s construction in the face’ (Shakespeare), we clearly understand, if we deeply think, whom we are to be considerate to. The pious Qur’an says, “The essence of Islam is to serve Allah and do good to your fellow creatures.”
In absence of considerateness, we become self-centered and see or do every act of kindness (though we pretend to be kind and compassionate) from the angle of our self-interest. Truly speaking, we are all offspring of the same Divine and the best way of leading a happy life is to be considerate to the needful. Mark Twain said: “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
The self-centered people are never considerate to anyone as they are so much absorbed in the ‘self’ that they hardly understand what is good to them and what is not good to them. They all the time pine for what they do not have which others have. They grow jealous and envious of others. They live in their own world. They have no faith in anyone. Such persons look at everyone with suspicious eyes, let alone notice their being considerate.
Though I may be going in exaggeration, yet I must agree to the saying of Dalai Lama, “In fact, self and others are relative like this side of the mountain and that side of the mountain. From my perspective, I am self and you are other, but from your perspective, you are self and I am other.” To be considerate is not a child’s play. One has to sacrifice one’s own interest and happiness. Learn considerateness from a mother who very easily understands what her child wants from her. Be considerate and see how much pleasure you feel.
‘Considerateness’ may be related to ‘kindness’ and ‘no act of kindness ever goes unrewarded.’ Goethe said: “Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though it were his own.”
To sum up the essay: Don’t take advantage of anyone’s helplessness, and instead, be considerate to others, but not on the cost of the members of your family and of your dear ones.