When no one is looking: a test of character

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I read an article a while back about social norms and how they fall into two general categories: Injunctive norms mean we’re inclined to act in certain ways if we believe people will think well or think poorly of us, while descriptive norms mean we’re apt to mimic behaviors of others. What about when no one is looking? A few weeks ago I entered my office building’s restroom stall and noticed the toilet tissue folded and pressed into a V shape. I smiled as I thought about the janitor who, after scrubbing the sinks and countertops, the toilets and the floor, took the time to add a personal flair for patrons they would likely never see. Perhaps, today, we can learn from this example and return a shopping cart to its receptacle, extend a random act of kindness (behind the scenes) or straighten up a mess—even if it’s not ours. A good rule of thumb: our habits form our character.

What does your character say about you?

Photo source: http://themooreconsortium.blogspot.com.

Easier said than done

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That old saying in the title rings spot-on for me now more than ever since I committed to living my life Today (see “It’s just the beginning”). I’ve begun the process by initiating dialog, albeit painful, forcing me to examine my heart and my motives and to cull the truths from the lies about who I am and what I believe about myself. It feels like I’ve been squeezed through an emotional wringer over the past few days as I shine a light on the darkness and examine my character. I hope it hasn’t always been about my desires, my needs—but rather a wanderlust not to travel so much as to explore and learn, to grow into the most authentic version of the reflection I see in the mirror each day. Ultimately, I know what I must do. Yet that’s when it’s easier said than done. It’s scary… exhilarating. And I feel like I’m running out of time.

When is it easier said than done for you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Forgiveness leads to freedom

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[Image credit:bigjom]

My daughter is one of the most forgiving people I know, and just as easily can forget.  I am freely able to request it for myself, but offering pardon to someone else is another story.  Although, since losing a friendship, as well as addressing some of my less than desirable character traits, I understand that in order to fully pick up the pieces and move past this moment in time, I must do some forgiving of my own (even of myself).  When we feel wronged or slighted, however, it’s challenging to 1) own up to our part in the tango (it takes two, remember?) and 2) offer absolution (especially when it hasn’t been sought).  But I’ve found it’s truly the only way to “let it go” and, in the process, find freedom.  Freedom to give our dreams that facelift I talk about in The changing face of our dreams, freedom to finally forget the heartache or freedom simply to start over.

Is it easier for you to forgive or to forget?