As I write this, our country is celebrating Memorial Weekend. During this time, we remember those who have served, suffered and died in our military. We honor our veterans, living and dead, and such honor is well deserved. We don’t do it often enough.
The focus of this weekend has led me to consider the concept of honor. What does it mean, exactly? Is it a practice lost in today’s culture? Does it still have value on a personal and a societal level?
While there are several definitions for the word “honor,” I want to discuss the verb, as in “We will honor those who came before us.” For example, this Memorial Weekend we remember, acknowledge and “honor” our veterans. Webster includes the definition: ”a showing of usually merited respect. “
Honoring those whose actions or positions have merited such respect is appropriate, but what about everyday expressions of honor? How might our lives change if we honored those who live under our own roof? Do you honor your spouse or your children? Do you honor your friends, co-workers or the many people you meet as you go through your day?
We often think that honoring someone suggests that we consider them to be above us, but is that really true? We can perceive the other person as equal to us, and still honor them. We can show them “merited respect” through our actions, our words, and our tone of voice.
What do you think would happen to your personal relationships if you behaved in a manner that honored those you encounter each day? Do you think honoring your spouse might contribute to a more positive relationship? Do you think your children might be healthier and happier if your tone and words honored them? You can honor someone and still maintain proper boundaries and expectations.
What about yourself? Do you honor yourself? Do you treat yourself with the respect you give to others? Does your self-talk convey a tone of honor toward self? Do your choices and behaviors demonstrate a sense of honor toward self? Self-esteem wounds often prohibit any expressions of self-honor. Likewise, treating yourself with honor helps to heal self-esteem wounds.
Try to maintain an awareness of honor as you go through your day. Let your words, tone of voice and behaviors reflect honor toward those around you and toward yourself. Watch what happens.
Question: Can you share experiences where you did show honor toward another and saw a positive outcome? Can you share an experience where your attitude or behavior changed because someone honored you?