Before we begin, I really want to take a moment and share a reminder for you to be kind to yourself.
Kindness is an expression of admiration for our fellow human beings. That we all matter and truly have worth. All of our lives have an intrinsic, inalienable God-given value. We are designed to live a life of service. To use our talents, gifts and abilities to make life better for others.Doing so freely and with kindness, shows that maybe we have something someone desperately needs.
This week we discussed a number of those things we can share with others, so let’s respectfully review with compassion, dignity and integrity the worry- free week that was and hopefully continues to be here on Becoming Today.
This week began with a discussion of three things I believe every person on this planet not only wants but truly deserves.
These elements are worthy of an acronym so let’s begin with three simple letters: C. D. R.
While these letters will quickly be expanded to three seemingly easily understood words, each of these expressions contain powerful actions and attitudes that assist greatly in our personal development.
C.D.R. stands for:
All are elements of common need and desire. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, nor what you have been – are – or will be going through; each and everyone of us truly desires to be treated with Compassion, Dignity and Respect. Plus beyond yearning for, we should feel inherently deserving of them.
The trouble for some is that in order to receive these basic harmonious elements of life, we must also be giving of them freely not only to others but also be treating ourselves with each.
Let’s begin with Compassion. Take a moment and think about what it means for you.
Our shared definition of becoming compassionate involves a developing of skills, levels and achievement. It also makes compassion an active action. Something we must not only understand and accept, but must also decide to give and receive freely.
I ask you to choose to accept this understanding that I have developed:
“Becoming compassionate is accepting the conscious process of showing kindness and sharing empathy with others, so that we may then decide to assist all those we can.”
In sharing compassion we do show kindness and empathy towards others (and hopefully ourselves) though empathy is used to describe a whole range of emotions. The primary difference is empathy is when you can accept the emotions of another in a given situation, while compassion also includes the desire to take action to aid the individual.
A widely stated adage expresses,
“A single act of compassion can change a person’s life forever.”
Making it a very Becoming quality. Sharing compassion allows us to feel and assist. It motivates us to transform suffering, pain or injustice into healing, growth and change
Transitioning now to the next dignified concept of our conversation, let’s define and share….
When you have chosen to live with dignity, it means you are worthy of respect. That you have achieved a state of attitude, acceptance and caring that fosters a vision of you being worthy of being held in esteem, regarded as trustworthy and dare I say “Becoming”.
In addition to practicing self-care, dignity requires us to be self-confident, value our self-worth, foster our self-esteem and always be loving towards ourselves.
There’s no skipping steps here. All these personal qualities work together, and we need all these tools to empower ourselves from within. When we have allowed and accepted these strengths to be firmly established then we can work towards assisting others to do the same.
So in finding the true meaning of having a sense of dignity, we must comprehend that it starts with the qualities, values and beliefs which we hold and choose to share. Building a healthy sense of dignity is developed over time and requires patience. It is something that is easier said than done, though is quite achievable.
Then how do you know if you’re living with dignity? First realize it is an ongoing process, changing, developing, growing (or declining) throughout our lives. It must be nourished. You must consciously seek to renew it regularly.
Dignity is loving and appreciating yourself just as much as you are willing to love others. The truth is that it looks different in each of us. True dignity is a solid foundation you can rely upon everyday. It also cannot be taken away from you no matter the circumstances, challenges or obstacles you may encounter.
I can hear some of you saying that having dignity is a lot like self respect. It is in part though there are some differences. As Respect is the third element, the “R” in our C.D.R., we;’ll delve into that tomorrow, but briefly let’s touch upon the differences.
Dignity and Respect are two words that often go together. The notable distinction is when we refer to them as being given to or shared with others. Dignity refers to the state of being worthy and honorable. Respect in part is defined as having an admiration for someone because of their qualities or achievements.
Formulating our shared understanding of what respect truly is, the dictionary first offers us this definition: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. Then continues on with the secondary offering, which I believe should be the primary, “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others”.
This concept of due regard or having the best wishes for, truly desiring for a shared understanding of another can be further brought along by adding Wikipedia’s explanation of respect, which explains “… also called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities”.
Therefore let’s choose to agree that R-E-S-P-E-C-T means accepting somebody for who they are, even though they are different from you or you may not agree with them. Respect builds trust, safety, and fosters healthy attitudes, though these emotions don’t come naturally; they are something you must learn and then share.
Respect also involves treating others the way you want to be treated. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Traditionally recalled as “The Golden Rule”, simply put it is always being considerate of others as well as honoring their feelings, opinions, and property.
Likewise actively and deliberately practicing respect towards ourselves or embracing self-respect is being good to ourselves, holding ourselves in strong esteem, with dignity and compassion. Plus committing to the ideas of self-discipline by making responsible choices in what we say and then taking action to achieve our personal goals, in alignment with our individual beliefs and values. For me that also means working to ensure that My thoughts, attitudes, words and actions are in accord with the Lord.
Have empathy for people, no matter what their circumstances may be. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated if you were living their current experience?
Listen. Intently, carefully and be accepting of what they are trying to say to you.
Encourage others to share their opinions and offer input in the conversation. Remember speaking is only part of having a discussion.
Be accepting of and validate the contributions of others. Respect gives people the space they need to contribute in ways they feel most comfortable. Boundaries remain important.
No gossiping, teasing, belittling, bullying or other non accepting behaviors.
Always be affirming. When you affirm someone,it’s saying and showing that they truly matter, are valued and worthy of respect. Many times this will bolster their ability to more freely practice self-respect.
When in doubt, mirror the actions of someone you consider to be respectful.
As we continue to build our momentum of “Becoming”, which always focuses on moving forward and upward, let’s go within I ask you to consider three questions:
Do you like yourself?
Do you love yourself?
Do you respect yourself?
I pray you will take time to ponder them, reflect and release your understandings upon your actions. Living them, and gracefully acknowledging your beliefs, values and personal paths.
Accept grace, joy and wisdom.
Give thanks for it with a grateful heart.
Keep doing it.
Then you are “Becoming” the real, true, authentic you. All you were intended to be.
Still have questions, concerns, doubts or worries?
Okay then, now we’ll embrace the topic of: “Casting Your Cares”.
A key element of being “Becoming” is living a righteous life.
To do so requires we cast all of our cares upon God.
Ensuring that we are on the same page let’s explore some shared definitions.
Righteous living on our path to “Becoming” can literally be defined as being “right especially in a moral way”. Being righteous means doing the right thing at all times not only for yourself, but also for others.
Let’s establish that to “cast” literally means to “throw.” When you throw something to someone, you are releasing it, trusting they’ll catch it and handle it appropriately. So whether it’s tossing the car keys or passing a basketball, it’s the same analogy as releasing your cares to God. You are putting the responsibilities for them in His court.
So what exactly are your cares? They are different for each and every one of us, but can generally be understood as our personal fears, worries, doubts, anxieties, or troubles.
By handing them off to the Lord we are demonstrating trust in God that He is able and willing to deal with our concerns.
Inasmuch as Scripture Instructs us to cast our cares, and Jesus himself told people not to worry. Not to show obedience in this matter, would be the opposite of righteous living. It shows not only a lack of obedience but can be described as being dishonorable to God.
Why? Because if we do not release the anxieties for Him to handle and try to battle them alone, we are trying to do His job. Attempting to take His burdens upon our shoulders will crush us. However if we follow the advice of the Apostle Peter that weight can be immediately lifted.
Peter’s advice is to cast all our cares upon God.
None of us need to weigh ourselves down with emotional baggage. We don’t have to carry the burden of our worries. Nor must we submit to the bondage of fear, self doubt or loathing.
God is willing to release us from all of it. By taking all of our anxiety and concerns upon Himself.
By now you’re saying something similar to ( if not exactly as) ‘easier said than done’. True but “Becoming” as we have well established by now involves work. Sometimes arduous labor. Making deep commitments and then elevating that dedication to the level of covenants.
Understanding that as well as coming together with common expressions of the involved concepts , now go ahead and ask me, “what’s next?”.
Oh good question.
What is it?
Why is it so important?
How do we ensure we are living with it?
Where to begin?
Without freely embracing integrity we are limiting our lives. It’s why far too many people experience simply existing rather than being rewarded with a fulfilling life.
In order to be living with integrity each of us needs to be living by aligning your conduct with excellence. Displaying a firm dedication to our values and beliefs. Never wavering in adhering to higher standards and pledging to always attempt to do the right thing regardless of circumstances.
Notice I did say attempt, because no one is perfect. We will slip, we will make mistakes, sometimes even fall flat on our face. However when that occurs, we must decide to take the actions involved in getting up and pushing on.
This can be supported by strengthening your inner dialogue. The conversations you have with yourself- in addition to “where did I put my keys?” and “I need…”, should be aligned with intentionally directing our actions in accordance with our individual understanding of what is right and wrong is.
Making integrity an integral part of our essence we can not claim to be perfect. Honesty involves being quick to acknowledge and own our mistakes and faults. Our integrated sense of sincerity should come from a pure motivation to do what is right, always.
Right now I pray that we resolve to have a wonderful, refreshing, renewing and safe weekend.
Be careful in this early Summer heat and to those who celebrate it, Happy Father’s Day.
Enjoy and we’ll talk again, come Monday here on “Becoming Today”.