Think about your life and how you are living it. For most of us, our lives are filled with some great ups, some painful downs, and a whole boatload of underwhelming vanilla in the middle. We frequently waste a lot of time either watching life go by, or stalling with great intentions to get going real soon.
Sometimes we gain wisdom, and that happens when we have our experience collide with reflection on that experience. When we reflect on our experience… we often learn lessons. Those lessons are invaluable to help us make course corrections in our life journey.
Life is short, and too often we say along the way, “If I knew then what I know now…” And we say that with regret because we stalled for too long to learn the lessons.
So, in your saner reflective moments in life, you might notice that your character plays such a huge role in the quality of your life.
Your character is made up of:
- Your basic governing standards
- Your values
- Your standards of conduct
- Your rules of engagement
- Your priorities in life
- Your self-respect
Every morning when you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Are you pleased or embarrassed? Proud or ashamed? Impressed or depressed? Excited or bored? Energetic or listless? Engaged or isolated? Powerful or weak? Do you feel meaningful or meaningless?
Every morning, whether you like it or not, you wake up inside your own skin.
“Wherever you go, there you are, so there you go!” Which means you have to live with yourself, your feelings, your choices, and your behavior. And, just like compounded interest in a bank account, there are long-term effects to those choices and behaviors.
At the end of the day, the measure of your life is inevitably determined by your CHARACTER and all its strengths and weaknesses. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER!
So, what is the condition of your character? What are your basic governing values? What are the moral principles by which you want to live? What is the gap between what you espouse and what you practice? There is always going to be a gap; just how wide is it? Is that okay with you?
The essential qualities for Strength of Characterinclude:
- INTEGRITY: Honesty, legitimacy, the straight stuff, and full disclosure. The willingness to be unpopular at times, by telling the truth. The absence of lying, tap-dancing, pretending, spinning, stalling, distracting, rationalizing, justifying, and avoiding. It’s doing the right thing.. and most of the time we know what it is.
- RESPONSIBILITY: Your life is completely your responsibility. As an adult, you own your situation — you are responsible for your choices, your decisions, your preferences, your relationships, your financial health, your conduct, and your actions. If life is going well for you, you probably made it happen. If life is going poorly, you did that too. And, if life is a giant boatload of underwhelming and wasting time, you did that too. The cards dealt to you are yours to play with; good or bad. So take accountability, make your choices, apologize, clean up your mess, take your lumps and get on with it. The energy spent on whining, complaining, and problem describing will be so much better spent on problem solving.
- GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT: This part of your Strength of Character is about giving more than taking, contributing more than consuming, caring more than expecting, investing more than expensing. This part of you is where you are comfortable inside your own skin because you can find your calm, live in the light, derive meaning, and hear the quiet. “You get more than you give when you give more than you get.” (Hmmm… random acts of kindness!)
Establish a higher standard for yourself and your life. Life is too short to live a vanilla life. People will treat you how you teach them to treat you.
People will respect you directly proportional to your self-respect. Respect that person in the mirror!
Commit to integrity, Responsibility of Spirit… and then share your values and spread them around.
You are quite a role model!
BECAUSE I’M A MAN
Because I’m a man — when I lock my keys in the car, I will fiddle with a coat hanger long after hypothermia has set in. Calling AAA is out of the question. I will win.
Because I’m a man — when the car is running poorly, I will pop the hood and stare at the engine as if I know what I’m looking at. If another man shows up, one of us will say to the other, “I used to be able to fix these things but now with all these computers and everything, I am clueless where to start.” We will then drink a couple of beers and break wind, as a form of holy communion.
Because I’m a man — when I catch a cold, I need someone to bring me soup and take care of me while I lie in bed and moan. You’re a woman. I will always get sicker than you, so for you, this is cake.
Because I’m a man — I can be relied upon to purchase basic groceries at the store, like steaks, milk or bread. I cannot be expected to find exotic items like tofu or tampons. For all I know, these are the same thing.
Because I’m a man — when one of our appliances stops working, I will insist on taking it apart, despite evidence that this will just cost me twice as much once the repair person gets here and has to put it back together.
Because I’m a man — I must hold the television remote control in my hand while I watch TV. If the thing has been misplaced, I may miss a whole show looking for it… though one time I was able to survive by holding a calculator (former applies mainly to engineers).
Because I’m a man — I carry with me a wallet… this item often fits in my pocket, and therefore, carries largely what I need every day — some money, credit cards, ID cards, etc. You carry a purse. Certainly you can choose to put in your purse any number of items that you deem to be critical and necessary for your ongoing day-to-day existence. Understand that asking me to carry and/or hold your purse is UNTHINKABLE, especially in public. Please know that you and you alone will be hauling all that stuff around.
Because I’m a man — it is unnecessary to ask me what I’m thinking about. The true answer is always either golf, cars, sports or sex. I have to make up something else when you ask, so avoid asking.
Because I’m a man — it is unnecessary to ask me if I liked the movie. Chances are, if you’re crying at the end of it, I disliked it, and if you are feeling amorous afterwards, then I will certainly at least remember the name of the movie and recommend it to others.
Because I’m a man — I think what you’re wearing is fine. I thought what you were wearing five minutes ago was fine too. Either pair of shoes is fine. With the belt or without it looks fine. Your hair is fine. You look fine. Can we just go now?
Because I’m a man — and this is, after all the year 2016, I will share equally in the housework. You just do the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the vacuuming, and the dishes, and I’ll do the rest… like hosing down the patio and wandering around in the garden with a soda, wondering what to do next.
This has been a public service message for women to Better Understand Men.