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Posts Tagged ‘fairness’

I was chatting with an older lady a day or two ago about some different new items (you’d think I’d learn not to do that huh? lol).

At one point she said that usually people are mean to other people because they themselves have been treated unfairly.  I really don’t want to start a conversation about the topic so incase you were thinking I’m being rather vague – you are right!

I then had the (apparently) crazy comment that despite the past – wrong is wrong and while I agree that it creates some understanding of why – it doesn’t create an excuse.

Whoa!  That got an angry response from her.

To be honest not much surprises me these days the this really took me back.  This lady is not someone I would have guessed to have not only this opinion but so strongly too.

She feels that if society or a group of people, or even another individual hurts a person they have the right to be angry (agreed) and lash back (not so much in agreement) at other people in general.

Now just to clarify we aren’t talking about an incident that happens in the moment or a situation of defense.

I disagreed with her take on this.  Hurting other people – especially ones who’ve done nothing to you – simply because you have been hurt in the past is not okay.  It perpetuates anger, hate and pain for all.

What kind of twisted circle of anger that would create with everyone feeling victimized and quite justified?  Let me rephrase that…they’ve been created for generations already so why keep doing what isn’t working

We have all been hurt, we’ve all been treated unfairly and we’ve all got baggage.  Creating more crap in the world has never holding on to anger burns only youhelped, fixed or changed any of that.

Now forgiveness, kindness and peace…to me that what is going to change things.

She was quite defensive and angry about it – telling me she has the right to think what she wants.  I agreed and simply moved on.  There was no discussion to be had there, no discourse or exchange of ideas.  Too much emotion and defending.  You can’t talk about things when one person has those walls up can you?

But I ask you dear readers, is there every a time when you feel it’s okay to treat others badly because you may have once been treated badly?

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In my previous post I talked about how it is about time we started building our character, making it strong and stepping into that truth even when it’s hard.  Before we can do that however, we need to understand what the basis for good character is.  Gosh but simply saying good or strong character always makes it sound so simple and easy. I really don’t know that it is, but it is fairly simple to understand in theory!

Foundations, traits…call it whatever you want; what makes us look to a person and say they have a strong character?  What makes us strive to emulate them, when we want to have or develop good character in ourselves or our children?

There is a fair amount of research that has been done to answer this question. There is (sorry) no definitive definition.  However, there are some things that we generally do agree on.   I think it’s worth exploring and seeing how this would fit in with my (and your) life.  After much reading and research this is what I came up with as basic traits for strong character.

(This post is going to inform is a very simplified way what I think are the foundations. I am then going to round it up at the end with a question for YOU!) 

1. Being a good Neighbour – being informed about what is happening and taking part in the world around you.  It also is where I’d throw in the idea of taking care of the environment.   These people obey sensible rules and co-operate with other people.  Citizenship is about making the world around us better for everyone.

2. Fairness – Treating all people fairly, playing by the rules.  I think the most important part of fairness is to have an open mind; even when you disagree.

3. Personal Accountability – I’m talking about personal responsiblity here folks.  Being accountable for your own actions! So this means you do what you say you are going to do, you think before you act.  Also falling under this pillar is self-control and self-discipline.   Have the courage to do the right thing, every time.

4. Compassion – Part sympathy, part empathy…it’s showing that you care about others and how they feel.

5. Trustworthiness – Easy right? Don’t lie, cheat, steal or blame others.  Do what you say you are going to do and stand by your word.  I think the idea of doing the right thing even if it’s hard or no one is looking..or everyone is looking, falls into this category as well.  Being loyal to your family and friends also falls under trustworthiness.  We have to build the presence of integrity into our expectations of everyday life.

6. Respect – One of my favourite saying is “do unto others as you would have done to you“.  The Golden Rule lies in respect.  Many of us mix up respect with fear and we must understand that we earn respect through our actions.  Things like good manners, accepting differences, solving problems with a win/win in mind rather than with fists blazing! 

7. Self Respect – I think it is important to separate respect and self-respect in this instance.  It is possible to have one without the other.  Those who value themselves often do not value others and just as often, the case is the reverse.  It is not only possible, but necessary to be able to hold both in your mind in order to be of good character. 

When you boil it down it is my thinking that these are the foundations of good character.  Seems simple doesn’t it?  Obviously not so or we’d not have so many problems in the world.

I am asking you then, what do you think goes wrong so that so many people might let one or more of these pillars crumble a little (or a lot?)?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.  I’ll give you mine in part three of the discussion on Character. 🙂

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