What is Honour?
To honour another is to bring esteem to them, and can also be the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right by others. In other words, it is a concept that entails a perceived quality of trustworthiness and respectability that affects both a person’s or group’s self evaluation and social standing.
In a social context it is a code of behaviour that defines the duties of an individual within a social group. Some refer to it as the rule that binds one to morality, that when we lose our morality our honour comes under scrutiny.
How to be Honourable
To be an honourable person there are certain attributes that are required, such as kindness, being genuine and having empathy without expecting a reward in return for such behaviour. It is a rare combination of virtues, but with constant practice anyone can be honourable. Honour means being the type of person who stands up for their beliefs instead of cowering in fear, who puts themselves at risk to rescue friends when they need you to, and being someone who’s well recognised as an upstanding citizen. To attain this level, you need to start by doing little things, like showing up when you say you will, keeping to your word, helping out others in need and being morally upright even in a situation of intense pressure. When you practice living honestly in everyday ways, and you let people know that you have their backs at all times, being honourable will start to feel like second nature to you.
Attributes of Honour
Keep to Your Word
Our word means alot to others when spoken. Words can make or break a relationship, so keeping to our words should be top priority, because trust and honour go hand in hand. You should work on always telling the truth, whether it’s about your own intentions or an outside situation. Though this is bound to certainly make you uncomfortable most times, and you might be subject to other people’s anger or hurt feelings, remember that your actions speak louder than your intentions and people will appreciate that you’re someone who tells it like it is instead of sugar-coating, and they will hold you in high esteem.
Always remember that trust cannot be bought – it must be earned – and it takes just one wrong act to bring you down in other people’s eyes. Therefore, work towards standing by your principles as that is the only way to earn people’s trust.
Strengthen Your Values
The key to being honourable is in having strong values, since acting with honour means doing the right thing, even if others disagree with you. Always align your values with what is right. Although, it can be really hard to figure out how to act with honour in any given situation, you can always work things out by using your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, or if your feelings cringe when you go to head in a new direction with something, then it’s very likely that it’s not the right thing for you to be doing. Your values (as well as the sensation in your feelings that wants to pull away from going in a certain direction or doing a certain thing) should be what you turn to for answers when there’s no one else you can ask. When you align yourself with all of these things, you can be proud of yourself for having done your best, no matter what the outcome is. Always associate yourself with wise and trustworthy people who can add positivity to your life.
Show Others that You Care
What makes the honourable among us stand out is the fact that they really care about the people in their life. They are the friends who refuse to let their friends get behind the wheel after a night of drinking, the parents who would rather work double shifts to provide for the family at their own expense, the kid who would rather share their meal with their friend or buddy than see him go hungry. Honourable people show their deep love for others through their actions, so if the people in your life don’t know you’ve got their back, then I suggest it’s time to start showing them. Also, your caring should extend to people outside your family. Though it’s hard to hand over change to every single person who asks or help everyone you come across we should remember that the little we have to offer can make a big difference to them.
Honour Others Without Expecting Reward
When we help or render aid to people in need it should be because we care about them and not be due to the fact that we stand to gain something from doing so. Helping people because of our ulterior motives is a very low energy act (as compared to the higher energy of selfless service), and when you do something kind, let there be no self-serving motive behind it. Instead, be driven only by love.
Don’t build up resentment about helping out, or wonder what you’re getting out of a given situation. Think about the decisions you make every day, and look at what is the driving force behind your decisions. Do you take from others or do you serve and empower them? Are you motivated by love or gain? If your motives are not genuine, others will see you for who you really are.
Never Manipulate Others
Likewise, we should abstain from manipulating others. Don’t take advantage of their weakness in order to gain an edge on them. You need to take into consideration the effect of your words and actions on other people. Don’t guilt trip people into doing what you want them to do. Be more mindful of the impact you have on them so as to avoid getting their emotions all tangled up. Don’t lead people on by making them think you’re more emotionally involved than you really feel.
Adopt an Honour Code
An Honour Code could be a list or set of attributes to help you on your quest for honour. It can be of your own making, or one that you find written out by someone else that you adjust slightly to suit you. When you examine yourself, draft out things to drop and characteristics to build upon, as this will give you a clear and concise idea of what you need to improve on.
Schools, organisations and individuals have been known to adopt honour codes and it has shown to be a real source of inspiration to members. This breeds a level of mutual respect and security that you will hardly find elsewhere.
We should remember that honesty and trust breeds honour, and endeavour to do what is right by all men as this is the first step towards an honourable life. Practice honesty!
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