You walk into a shop. The clerk gives you more change than he ought to. It is that time of the month when you are dead broke and it seems God has answered your prayers. You need the money badly. To give back or not? You are in a quandary. To go home smiling all the way and tell your loved ones of your good fortune or return the extra change and save the clerk’s job and your reputation. If you choose the former, you will walk away with a sense of glee, which is fleeting, and long-term guilt. You will lose your peace of mind and self-respect and deep down your soul, you will know you are a thief. But if you choose the latter, you will walk away with a sense of honour and a boost to your self-respect that only comes from doing the right things.
The online Cambridge dictionary defines honour as a quality that combines respect, pride and honesty. But this definition is limited in the sense that it does not fully capture the essence of being a person of honour, which is a rare combination of all virtues. To have honour is to be kind, genuine and empathetic without expecting anything in return. It is being true to your words and leading an upright life in your every day ways. A person of honour stands up for their beliefs. His friends know that he has their back covered and can trust him with their life and most prized possessions. A person of honour is honourable – a person deserving praise and respect.
Behaving in an honourable manner begins from our minds, for all that we are arises from our thoughts and if we are to act honourably then we have to think of honourable things. Good thing is, right from the time we are born, society feeds us with what is right and what is wrong and life gives us the freedom to choose from the two excesses (of course, there are consequences for the choices we make). Hence we are able to distinguish right from wrong and more often, when something feels wrong, it most certainly is. Certainly, it is a noble and befitting thing to be honourable. But how can we be honourable people? By doing quality work, treating others with respect, striving to promote harmony and fulfilling our promises. An honourable person is upfront and his peers don’t have to second-guess his intentions. No grey areas, no mishmash and definitely no maybe. He is a person of his word and doesn’t play games with people. He helps people out of love and concern and not because he has an ulterior motive.
By leading an honourable life, you will be happier, have peace of mind and be more self-respecting. The fear of being discovered or exposed will not hang around your head like a cloud wherever you go. You will always be at peace with your actions and thoughts. And you will certainly not put people at pains during your funeral to lie about you.
Here are pointers to honourable behaviours:
- Want something? Work for it!
- Always speak the truth
- Have values and stand up for them no matter the circumstances
- Help people; it’s the rent you pay for your room here on earth
- Be mindful of others
Published in July 2016