Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Is Honor?

Last week explored the concept of integrity and a lovely little bird sang in my ear that it would be good to explore the concept of honor next. So, what is honor?

If you look up the words honor and integrity in a thesaurus, they are synonyms of each other, and they are used interchangeably because they speak to similar qualities. But I perceive that there are some subtle differences.

Here is the difference I see between integrity and honor, and I look forward to reading your comments with your views.

Integrity is doing what you say you will do with honesty and heart, and in alignment with your true purpose for being here on earth. Honor is doing what you say you will do, even when difficult conditions arise, without needing to degrade or disrespect another in the process, and reverently addressing the consequences of the choices you make.

Here are some thoughts from others about honor that might have meaning for you. (As before, references to men apply equally well for women and references about men can also apply for women.)

I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it. —Margaret Thatcher

Our own heart, and not other men's opinion, forms our true honor. —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. —Calvin Coolidge

Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences. —Midori Koto

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud. —Sophocles

He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable or dangerous to do so. —Walter Lippmann

Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.
—Lois Bjold

It wasn't the reward that mattered or the recognition you might harvest. It was your depth of commitment, your quality of service, the product of your devotion -- these were the things that counted in a life. When you gave purely, the honor came in the giving, and that was honor enough. —Scott O-Grady

I have written before that one of the challenges we create for ourselves in our new age thinking is that something is right for us to do if it is easy. Somehow, we have made right and easy equal to each other. We have decided that if a choice proves to be easy, we are on the right path and if it is difficult we must be on the wrong path.

It has been my blessing to interview many individuals over the years as they reflect on their journeys in healing, career, relationship, creating prosperity, and spiritual awakening. Not one individual that has achieved something of value in their lives ever told me their journey was easy.

In fact, they have often confided to me that there were many moments when the journey was extremely challenging. Yet, they persevered because they knew they were following their guidance, and they trusted their intuitive insights.

They did not expect everything to be graceful, but rather they chose to move through their challenges with as much grace as they possibly could.

They did not expect life to be easy all the time, but rather, chose to see the gifts of opportunity in the obstacles that presented themselves.

They did not expect everyone else to bend to their will, but rather, bent like the willow to their own inner conscience.

They acted as best they could in accordance with their calling, doing their best to inflict no harm, while staying true to their mission in the most challenging of circumstances. And when another was harmed, they took responsibility for their choice and the consequences of their actions.

They choose what they know in their hearts to be right; not necessarily what it easy.

Can one make an honorable choice, in alignment with their purpose, true to their purpose, that is easy? Certainly that can happen and does. These same individuals would tell me how much they enjoyed their lives, and how much, even the challenges, have given them exuberance for life.

Where we trip ourselves us is when we make ease a condition of what is right. For those of us that have struggled and suffered, we perceive that struggle and suffering indicates something is wrong.

We may find it difficult to believe that what is right for us could also have its challenges. And yet, how do we transform the pain and stuckness of this planet if we are unwilling to move through those energies ourselves. There is a huge difference between suffering and struggle, and the willingness to diligently persevere on a course of action we know to be true and right for ourselves.

Have you ever believed in something so deeply that nothing could shake you (at least not for very long)? Have you ever been so passionate about something that you looked for solutions the minute a problem arose? Have you ever loved someone or something so much that you immersed yourself in your loving expression?

When life asks us to grab yet one more rung as we climb our ladder of life, we find out how much we want to achieve all that we are capable. We reach, and in reaching we discover what we deem to be honorable within ourselves.