Declaration #1 One To Heal and Restore Your Life
To begin with, whether you believe in God not I think we can all agree that there are certain things we can do in certain ways to create a more joy-filled life. Right?
Well, many years ago my husband and I decided to create a poster called;
“11 Declarations To Heal and Restore Your Life“
At that time, we felt as if our marriage, and quite possibly our entire lives, were falling apart. It wasn’t, but you know how it feels to be in that place of ‘not knowing’ which way to turn sometimes? Yeah, that’s where we were.
We believe in God so we knew that out of hardship and pain comes beauty and grace eventually. We just wanted it to hurry itself along.
I’d heard about how declaring, praying for, and focusing on what you want, instead of whining about what you don’t want, improves your overall life. So I suggested to my husband that we create our own declarations. To say he thought that was a great idea would be a lie. He laughed at me and said his first declaration would be to declare he wasn’t going to do it. I know you can relate – but sit up and take notes because I’m about to tell you what happened once he agreed to do them with me.
We sat together for what seemed like hours just writing our ideas and talking over what each of us wanted. That in itself was a rare occasion in our home so naturally I felt we’d made lots of progress already.
Not only did creating these declarations help us, but by reading them every day for 30 days they also helped our children, our extended family, our friends and even our co-workers. By reading them, and by committing to them, we changed US, our personal lives, from the inside out.
We later shared them with a crowd of 200 people, then on a website and now people both near and far have begun to create their own declarations.
Over the next Eleven posts, I’ll be sharing and clarifying each individual declaration we made through powerful stories that are deeply personal, as well as funny at times, to help illuminate each Declaration and why it helped change the way we look at life.
This post is about Declaration #1:
“I honor myself by honoring you with loving attitudes”
I was just 6 years old when I first understood the word “honor”. My siblings and I stood in our driveway waiting for the school bus to arrive. If you’ve never lived in Vermont then you might not be able to fully appreciate breathing in frigid air that freezes your nostrils together. On this zero degree day I couldn’t wait to get to school early so I could thank the most wonderful man in the world. It was my elementary school janitor. His wife had knitted me a pair of mittens and he made sure they were on my desk before I got to school the morning before. I couldn’t believe these beautiful mittens were mine.
While holding my hands out in front of me that morning I gazed at the white snowflake design on the back of them. “They are sooooo beautiful.” I thought to myself. Never again would my finger tips freeze and hurt from the painful frigid air. I didn’t know this man, but what an honor it was to receive such a gift. By doing this simple act, he not only honored me but he also brought honor to himself.
Word got around about how loving he was to care for needy children. During one of our assemblies he was honored in front of the entire school. Honoring someone can leave a legacy. I’m still talking about him 48 years later aren’t I.
My husband and I were both raised in homes with moments of honorable attitudes, mostly in front of others, but there were many more dishonoring attitudes when others weren’t around. Because of this, I knew we had to learn what honor looked like in order to choose honoring attitudes, or be an example of honor to each other.
Since we’d been married for 23 years (at that point) I realized we hadn’t served our older children well in the area of honoring.
In my mind there are two types of attitudes in the human race; “honorable” and “dishonorable”.
I believe we choose honorable or dishonorable attitudes every single moment of every single day. In choosing to master your attitude it takes a decision to honor yourself by honoring others, regardless of the situation.
I can think of few things worse than being a Holocaust survivor, but in the midst of it was an honorable man named Victor Frankl, who once said,
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Did you catch that? What he’s saying is we bring honor by;
1) what we give to the world in terms of what we are willing to create
2) what we will take from the world in terms of our experience; and
3) the stand we take toward the world, through our attitude we choose when faced with our own suffering.
Each of us gets to choose every moment of every day how we will react, what we will say, and what we will do.
None of us are perfect, and none of us will be loving 24/7 because we are human and we live in an imperfect world. Honoring others, to the very best of my ability, is what I will choose until the day I die.
What does honor look like to me?
- Show Empathy – Understanding where someone is, and being there for them in a strong manner, isn’t the same as falling into the pit with them. That’s the difference between empathy and sympathy.
- Have Good Discretion – There are 2 points to this; never correct a mocker or you invite insult, and heed discipline. With good discretion an honorable person can choose wisely.
- Live Nobly – Discretion is a segue to nobility. I believe nobility comes from an inner connection to life, to have moral excellence for the purpose of increasing others.
- Increase Wisdom – Intelligence is an increase of education. Wisdom comes from an inner voice of counsel. I gave God permission to steer my life so that I may touch the hearts of humanity with love through my words, thoughts, deeds and actions. .
- Teach In Ways That Serve – Wise teachers will ask, “Who can I serve today?”
- Speak Words of Gratitude – Not only for what you might obtain but also for what you’ve seen, done or have in your life right now.
- Love Consistently – People of honor show love to others through practicing forgiveness on a consistent basis, no matter what their circumstances are.
- Exhibit Patience – Patience equals love. A person of patience endures to seek out what they can learn from any given situation.
When our annoying pet peeves resurface; like my saying something he views as unfiltered or opinionated, or like him throwing my brand new, “dry clean only”, clothes in the wash with his stinky old work clothes, it’s like we move immediately toward the dishonorable. Fortunately its only for a brief moment of time.
We can easily remind ourselves how far we’ve come by sticking to our marriage declarations that have become “LIFE DECLARATIONS”. Each day is a unique journey and everyone’s journey is unique. Play with it and declare what you want instead of what you don’t want. You’ll find a much more enjoyable lifestyle in the end.
If you have a declaration to share please let us know. We love hearing how others succeed. Think about commenting or sharing this post, and while doing so you can enjoy the fact that you are honoring others.