We cherish it as much as we seek it. It’s integral to our standing in the world. It’s fundamental for the actions we take. And yet, honor is often misunderstood by its very existence. Why do we seek honor? Is it for ourselves or is it for others?
Our ancestors are honored for their sacrifices and their teachings. Things that we use when convenient for our own purposes. Is a flag honorable? Is a medal worthwhile to uphold? Is a place so important as to override its very reason of being? What happens when the actions behind them are not honorable, even if the results are? Why should we defer to society’s criteria of honor, if they are not our own?
All living creatures, of humans are but a small part of the whole, hold memories of their cherished ones close to their hearts. And sometimes they seek to find a place of remembrance that will resonate, not only for themselves but for others.
But why do we remember them? Why do we honor them? Is it their sacrifices, or should it be about who they were? Not as in community standing, but in how they treated others. What they held as the most important part of who they were to themselves. What motivated their actions, passions, and respect. Were they able to maintain that honorable strain when it counted most?
It’s evident that honor holds a different place depending on how we are raised, and what we hold as most important. And in many cases, the honor is completely separate from what institutions and nations hold in high esteem.
The heart holds the key to what drives our honor. Each of us has different motivations for respect. Yet most forget that respect is earned, and not just to be expected. To be old doesn’t always garner respect, if the years spent cannot be held up to the light. To be in charge cannot guarantee loyalty, if that very leadership is not driven by the care for all under their command equally and lovingly. To be honored is more than simply ticking off a checklist that society deems as the standards to uphold. As it should be!
Honor is about having an example in your heart that pushes you to be your best for yourself and for others. It is not about achievements and awards, and certainly not about legacies. If those are what you hold dear, then you are clearly not understanding the human experience as it’s meant to be lived.
Your past endeavors cannot reflect what is in your heart as most important. They are simply results of actions, intentional or not, that may have brought you accolades. All of the trophies and certificates are simply for show to appease your ego. Your ego is the window to your soul that others see. Whether it is an ugly representation or one worthy of honor is up to each individual you encounter.
You can’t make others like or respect you, because that is something that only they can give you of their own free will. All of the posturing from every person around you won’t shake the truth that you know and feel deep in your gut. Instincts are ingrained by nature itself, and that won’t be swayed by the number of medals you flaunt.
We may live in packs that value respect and even honor, but every pack has its black sheep. And you might notice that some of those black sheep really don’t care about what you think. Pushing your will on them just might backfire and bring about results that you’re not ready to face.