Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Formula For A Good Life

I have debated as to whether I should weigh in on all the whooha that has been flying around the news lately, but I decided that a different perspective might be a good thing to plant as a seed for thought.  To clarify, this is not a comment on Phil Robertson.  What it is, is a comment on what I see as the basic issue to be worked on.....the lack of MANNERS, RESPECT and HONOR in our society today.  These words seem to have lost a lot of impact in our world and many struggle with the mere definitions of the words.  That is a tragedy.

As a young person, I was taught to respect my elders, to be polite to those I came in contact with and to honor other human beings.  Although I didn't always do that, what I have learned is that these things seem to be a very good formula for living in community with other people.  It does not take a lot of effort to be kind, it does, however, take effort to be kind when others are being unkind to you.  To do that, one must draw on one's own character.  That means being the person you are or that you are trying to be, in the face of disrespect or dishonor.  If you have not developed these qualities as part of your character, then as you try to draw from your inner strength, there aren't a lot of resources there to draw from.   This does not mean that we lay down and let others run over us.  It means that we respond in ways that are respectful, to ourselves and others while getting our point across.  That, my friend, is an art.  It is much easier to let fly out of our mouths anything that comes to mind, unfiltered and not well thought out.  It requires SELF DISCIPLINE to filter our responses.

It also requires empathy for others.  There are many times when I get frustrated with the actions or responses of other people.  In that, what I try to do is put myself in their place and ask how I would like to be treated in that particular circumstance or situation.  Does it work all the time?  I can't say that it does....but it works much of the time.  I often ask myself things this a hill you want to die on or in the long run, how important is the point I'm trying to make?  Those questions help me to monitor my thoughts, responses and behavior until I have achieved a level of automatic response that I am happy with.  I have to remind myself that I have a multitude of responses to choose from and many of them are better than others.

POLITENESS, RESPECT and HONOR are FILTERS, not just random suggestions.  These values filter our speech and our behavior. This is why we seek to teach them to our children.  They help us develop the ART of speaking our mind without being rude to others.  It is important to develop this art in our lives.  What we see today, almost everywhere we look, are examples of people being RUDE.  It seems the media likes to use highly charged words like racism and hate speech and what have you.  However the bottom line is that people are being rude to each other, or disrespectful or dishonorable to each other...which creates hard feelings.  When you boil emotional responses down to their simplest forms, that is what you find.  Movies, commercials, sit-coms, TV shows, talk radio and a myriad of other media choices demonstrate how people are impolite, rude or disrespectful to each other.  When our children watch these things, or even as adults we immerse ourselves in it, it will tend to erode the filters that are so important to our successful functioning.

What would happen, if in 2014 we all as individuals decided to strengthen these filters in our lives?  What if we practiced the art of honor, respect and being our society, in our our HOMES?  In doing that, we could actually BE the change that we are asking to see in our respective spheres of influence.  Can one person change anything?  The answer is.....YES.  You can change YOU and that is the most important person you know.  BE kindness, BE respect, BE honor and watch what happens in your life.  You will be amazed.