I looked up the word to see if it was what I believed it to be. My definition matched with what I found. I also discovered synonyms of the word gracious that include – cordial, affable, genial, sociable means markedly pleasant and easy in social intercourse.
Gracious implies courtesy and kindly consideration.
Being a man and a leader I often feel like I as well as other men lose sight of extending graciousness to others. Many times we get caught up in being focused on our own goals, plans and desires we forget this important trait. Men have the ability to compartmentalize their lives and in doing so we go from one project to the next focused solely on what needs to be done. It’s how we as men are designed, it’s not bad, but we do need to learn how to make it all blend and work for us. Day to day living often means we are caught up in our own thoughts and actions and forget about others. As men we are focused driven and we want to “conquer the mountain”. In our minds we are about fixing things and making them better. We see a problem that needs fixing and away we go, we’ve already got the problem solved. In doing so we often forget those around us have comments or thoughts. We can’t stop long enough to take the time to hear them and just end up brushing them off. We can be curt, blow people off and basically think I have it all figured out I don’t need to hear what you have to say.
I am not sure at what point things changed for me; somewhere in my early 20’s I became a snob. I would only associate myself with certain types of people and I didn’t want to be seen or have anything to do with “other types” (the list was lengthy of who I didn’t believe was good enough to be in my life) of people. I often had this attitude that I was better than others and didn’t need to talk to you or associate with you. If someone whom I perceived as being less than came up to me I would try to avoid them or look past them. If they attempted to engage me in conversation I would give a quick answer and walk away. Too many times I just ignored folks. If I was forced in a group setting I would suffer through it (my body language could tell you that) and then act like what they had to say or share was of no importance and basically they should just shut their mouths.
After some life altering ah-ha God moments and experiences as well as finding a job where I saw a different model of leadership, things began to change for me. I stopped viewing others in this way. I began seeing others as people who were important and valuable. I began realizing that just because someone didn’t see things my way didn’t make them less important. Maybe they did things differently; that didn’t mean my ideas were less important-just different. Huge shifts began to take place in how I began viewing life and interactions with others changed. I discovered people to be fascinating and their view on life, although vastly different from mine were just as meaningful and important.
To be gracious implies that you actually care about other people and what they think. It means that you understand were all-important and we all view life through different lenses. That is what makes this world great. God created all of us different for a variety of reasons and it’s because of those differences that make life exciting and enjoyable.
As a real authentic man who demonstrates the trait of graciousness in a real way, I believe you will begin to see and experience people in a new and different light. People are valuable, they are important and at the heart of it everyone wants to feel like they are important. Demonstrating graciousness toward others demonstrates our ability to connect on a human level and enrich our lives.
How about you, are you gracious to those around you consistently?