Don’t be dissuaded from your own true nature. But be sure to know what that is.
I heard an author talk about virtue recently, saying how undervalued, how unpopular it has become in our society.
True perhaps when you look at social groups. Yet I was reflecting that it’s interesting that when looking for a mate, or to someone in authority, or to those we elect, those virtuous qualities are generally still important to us.
My mother-in-law came for a visit last week and saw all the banner advertising as she drove into town, we have an impending national election here in New Zealand in the next month or so. She was telling me what a farce it’s turning into and how out of date many of the banners are already due to public scandal and resignations.
Yes I live my life happily without ever watching or reading the news, why on earth would I want to track that kind of nonsense? It’s not the world I want to live in and I’m not going to fuel it by giving it my attention. I’m also not entirely sure why anyone else does?
Years ago I recall a friend taunting “don’t choke on your halo Shona”, and it really upset me. Not so much because I didn’t want anyone to think I was a goody-two-shoes, I didn’t care whether they thought that or not, what I cared about was not wanting to appear sanctimonious.
I’ve never seen myself as superior to anyone, nor anyone as superior to me, morally or otherwise. We can know more about certain things than each other, or have different talents or experiences, but we are all in this game of life together. One affects all.
When I was a child, there was talk of our school fighting another school. I don’t know how this started, but I do know even my best friend turned up with a wrench. I was scared, not so much of getting hurt as I had no intention of being anywhere near, but that this pointless bravado would result in others getting needlessly hurt.
I just knew the right thing to do was blow the whistle, so I did. I have no idea if anyone ever knew it was me, I wouldn’t have proactively told people but wouldn’t have shirked away from an answer if I had been asked, yet no one ever said anything.
Now as I see even my young 6 year old in school, there’s something about a social group that seems to bring out the worst in human behaviour, all in pursuit of being popular. Why is bad behaviour so popular among a group I wonder? And why does virtue tend to lack more when people think they can get away with it?
I think we generally rebel from feelings of being quashed ourselves, being indoctrined into society means being told what not to do, and rebuked for doing it, from the moment we start to interact with the world. Less than virtuous behaviour is generally our way of clawing back power, yet the irony is that the power always resides within us.
Virtue is not just for the few, virtue is a quality we are born with. Yet as adults it is often proffered as an undesirable trait, naive even. No one wants to be seen as naïve, nor as overly goody-good, why not?
I want people to treat me in a virtuous way, with honour and kindness. I want to live in a society that displays that in its political systems, corporations, education and healthcare.
We seem to be born into this world in pretty good shape, loving, full of joy and self worth, then we become subject to the opinions of others. Why do we place so much importance on those?
I understand as a youngster so much is out of our control, big people are in the driving seat, and boy we seem to do a lot of damage in a short space of time. It’s like a collective collusion to disable our next generation. In the guise of teaching what is right (which, frankly, does not need taught, only demonstrated) we seem to knock down and rebuild; rendering the adult a former shadow of the self who arrived as a baby, and more of a drone.
The birth of new generations perhaps takes us inching towards a better world, but the pace is painstakingly slow, encumbered by the relentless tides of knocking each new hope’s self confidence and filling heads with utter nonsense.
Wake up people. You were born to this life with a purpose, you came knowing love, self worth, knowing virtue. Love yourself enough to be virtuous . You are not powerless, you always have the choice to do the right thing, and it is never fruitless nor too late.
You don’t need to take a stand against anything, you just need to take a stand for the right thing. Fighting against something, anything, is a waste of energy, it fuels the very thing you want to get away from, just focus on what you do want, and live that life.
Small things, figuring out the right thing to do can sometimes perplex, especially when ‘”doing the right thing” has become somewhat of a euphemism for sacrifice. The fact is, if it doesn’t make you feel good, trust your instincts and don’t go along with it.
Like this week when I was angsting about throwing a birthday party for my kids who both have birthdays coming up in the next few months. I simply don’t want to do a party for either, but both my kids love parties and want one because many of their friends have them, so I was feeling like maybe I should.
In the end it took someone wiser than me to point out that it is a better thing to teach the kids to be true to themselves by being true to myself. There are plenty of things I feel inspired to do for the kids, and they don’t go short of anything really, but this is not one of those things.
Each of these little dilemmas in life provides insights to our best life, and the answers are easier to find when you allow yourself a bit of space, taking regular time to fill your own cup. Try and get out into nature, take your lead from the examples all around. Despite some of the atrocities in the world, the sun keeps coming up, doing its thing.
The leaves keep growing, shoots keep forming, rain keeps falling, and rivers keep flowing. Nature is not dissuaded from its true nature as we are, so it’s easier to get grounded in nature, tethering your resolve to its aspect.
Look within, be virtuous, and you will be victorious in living your best life.
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