It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

~ E E Cummings ~

Walk That Talk

January 10th, 2014 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 45 secs

Self-honesty is a tonic.

Self-honesty is a tonic.

Nobody wants to listen to ideal ideas. They want to see living proof. Too many of us are caught up in idealized thinking that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Not that we have to be perfect. Just that it would be good if we lived by what we say we believe in.

Too often, people of faith live a shabby version of what they say so much about. They might think that’s okay, but it certainly isn’t for everyone around them.

Personally, I believe it’s better to profess less and live it a lot more. These days, when communication can easily be overwhelming, people who genuinely live according to their beliefs get our attention.

I don’t mean by moralizing or putting themselves into some sort of superior position. I mean, by living graciously with qualities like humility, courage, and compassion.

When I was researching my book on how to live a happy life, I was struck by the common themes of faith. Not, of course, in people’s beliefs, as these are vastly diverse. But in the qualities of character that keep coming back to the same themes.

Because they are so important, I distilled them down to 7 Strengths of Character, to make them easier to get your head around.  What also became obvious was that just because people profess beliefs in no way means that they will live by them.

By separating these strengths from their basis of faith (and yes, that includes humanism too), is not about denying devotion but reminding us all that we share so much in common.

If we struggle to live according to our beliefs, maybe it’s time to question ourselves and honestly identify what we really believe. For instance, a Christian may readily quote Bible verses about self-denial but live a very selfish life.

But rather than roll around in the mud of self-blame and shame, asking yourself what you secretly believe in heart of hearts (if you happen to have that many) can set you on a fresh course.  Personally, I’d prefer to be an honest ratbag than a lying saint. But that’s just me. What you decide is what really matters.

So, in a kind and respectful way, I’d like to gently challenge you. Consider areas in your life where you don’t walk the talk and open them to conscious scrutiny. Live according to what you honestly believe and enjoy a lot more happiness.

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