"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Embrace Your True Self

Why is it that some people are afraid to be themselves?  Why are some afraid to let their true selves shine?  I myself sometimes struggle with being who I really am, but have learned to be comfortable in my own skin just as I am, though it usually takes a little time to adjust.  Often when I get into a new area or meet new people I am shy and don't let people see the real me.  However it has rarely turned out bad when I relax and be myself.

I personally am often worried about being thought of as weird and not fitting in with others.  I think that's the main reason that people are sometimes afraid to be themselves.  They have a fear of rejection.  We want people to like us, and so we do what we think they want us to do rather than we want to do.

The truth of the matter is that people like us best when we like ourselves best-when we are exactly who we are and not hiding beneath masks.  No matter how odd some of our characteristics may seem we can almost always find someone who is just like us, and those that aren't usually appreciate the differences that make us unique.

Not only are we happier when we don't hide from the world we are also more productive.  Whether its a quiet environment or one with lots of noise we all have our comfort zones.  In order to grow we sometimes have to go outside of our comfort zones, but we also need time inside our comfort zones.  I for one am fairly introverted and like quiet and calm to work in.  My best ideas usually come when I have no one to talk to but myself, often on walks.  Ideas will come to me when I am in loud groups as well, but they often develop fully when I have time to reflect by myself.

Whatever it is that you are, embrace it.  Don't be ashamed if you are different than most people.  You are the way you for a reason.  You have talents and abilities that no one else has-let them shine.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Values: Truth

Truth is how things really are.  We are constantly searching for truth and coming ever closer to it.  Truth doesn't change with time or popular trends.  We can try to change it, but in trying to do so we often change ourselves.  It is when we try to challenge truth that we learn what it really is and let it help us.  Sometimes we find something greater than what we thought was true such as people exploring the world and finding it was round and not flat.  Other times we find that the truth is solid and we change ourselves.

Truth can come from many sources-science, religion, philosophy and others.  Where it comes from doesn't matter.  If it really is true, then it won't conflict with other sources.

Often we have to work with the best option available and then later find a more complete view.  It's okay to take small steps to finding truth as long as we don't give up the search before we find the real truth.  Once we find truth we can use the knowledge to help us be happier, better people.

As important, if not more so, as searching for truth is dealing in truth.  We must seek to be honest in all our dealings with others.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Values: Service

There aren't nearly enough acts of kindness in the world anymore.  Simple acts of service can make unimaginable differences.  Acts as simple as smiling at someone and asking how their day has been.  We often don't see the far reaching effects of our deeds.  For example the person that we smile and talk to for a while may in turn decide to reconnect with an old friend that thought no one cared, and was on the verge of leaving this world.  In chaos theory its called the butterfly effect-small acts causing huge changes such as a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a string of events that results in a tornado on the other side of the world.

In the movie pay it forward the main character makes a plan to change the world by doing acts of kindness for three people who rather than pay him back are supposed to do three more acts of kindness and so on until everyone in the world as been touched by an act of kindness.  Who's to say that such a thing couldn't really happen?  It could.  It starts with a single act.

Simply thinking about doing good deeds isn't enough.  "We have to actually do them.  The smallest good deed is greater than the greatest good intention." "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."  I don't know who was the first those great words but the message is worth thinking about.

What good deeds will we do?  How will we change our world for good?

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Values: Respect

Respect is about treating people right and being kind and open to their ideas, beliefs, religions and etc.  It doesn't mean we adopt their beliefs or ideas, but that we can listen to them and their point of view and accept it as valid, or if it is not valid in any way that we can help them understand that without offending them.

Respect is also about rules and etiquette.  In any society or group there are certain rules that must be followed in order to live in harmony.  Following the rules doesn't chain us down but shows that we can master ourselves and conduct ourselves with dignity.

A gentleman knows how to properly treat women as well as men, using chivalry and good manners.  A lady does the same in her sphere.  Being respectful also means being gracious to others, whether they are treating us kindly and we feel that we don't deserve it, or if they are treating us poorly.

Self respect means caring about yourself and not living below your standards.  It is knowing your worth and where you come from and acting accordingly.

My Values: Love

There are many kinds of love.  We can love a person romantically, or as family or friend.  We love objects or certain activities.  It can range from caring for someone's well being even though you may not like the person or agree with their ideas to the deepest most passionate love that should exist between husband and wife.

We should have love for all people for the simple reason that they are people and have thoughts and feelings just like we do.  We don't have to agree with their ideas or ways of life, but we can still love them.  For example I don't agree with the homosexual way of life, but I still love those people and see them as people with every bit as much potential as I have.  They are children of the same divine being, God, that I love and worship and who loves them as much as he loves me.  Love for other people in its most mature form is not conditional, but extended to all, regardless of their choices.

Love for people guides us to help them be the best that they can and to treat them with the respect they deserve.  Love for God helps us have gratitude for all that he has done for us and to see all the wonders that are in this world that he has created.  How can we not love God when we take time to see how beautiful the world is?  Love and gratitude go hand in hand.  We need to express that love to those we love often and honestly.  As Shakespeare said "They do not love that do not show their love."

Between husband and wife there should exist the deepest strongest love that we can imagine.  That kind of love doesn't come easily but must be nurtured.  When we have that kind of love we are true and faithful to our husbands or wives.  That love is further extended to children and helps us to do whatever we can to develop their potential.  A home where love is truly felt by all is the best environment for children to grow.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Values: Honor

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary the definition of integrity is:
1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :incorruptibility.
I also like definition part three:
: the quality or state of being complete or undivided :completeness.

These definitions also serve to define part of what honor is.  Honor is all about being true to yourself and to your group, whether that group be your family, company, a circle of friends or whatever group you choose.  In each case there are certain rules, whether written down or unwritten rules that are simply known by all those involved.  Its good to have these rules written down so they can be used as a self check to see how you are doing but one should be careful to not focus on the rules in and of themselves or lose sight of the reason that the rules exist-to help each of us be the best person we can be.

I like the third definition of integrity because when you live honorably you are more complete, and able to reach your full potential.  You aren't struggling with yourself and are therefore not divided.

As part of a group I was once asked the question "When you are by yourself are you in good company?"  An honorable person will be able to answer yes.  Such a person is happy with life, because he or she is sure in the knowledge that at the end of the day there will be no regrets.  Always they are doing their very best at whatever task they are set, no matter how mundane it may be.  They are prepared for the storms of life and rather than be stressed and hurried to prevent damage when a sudden storm comes they are able to sleep when it rains.

Do whatever needs to be done so that when you are by yourself you can be in good company.