“Live as if everything you do will eventually be known. And treat others as if you can see the effects before you act.” ~ Hugh Prather, Love and Courage …
One thing I strive for in life is to be a person of integrity and distinguishable character, for this to me is one of the most important things I can possess. I say possess, because each of us truly does possess our own unique character–a character built by our beliefs and our actions. And since I have the ability to build and determine my character, I want it to be virtuous so that it can honor my intentions. I must, therefore, practice what I believe is right so that my character truly does reflect my morality.
Since our characters are determined by our actions, it is important to live our lives with the understanding that “everything we do will eventually be known.” There really are not many secrets in life; I know from my own personal experiences that nearly everything I have done in my life–regardless of whether that thing was something I was proud of or ashamed of–has become known to someone. And that is why I try my best to only do those things that I am fine with others knowing.
The beauty of living our lives in such a way is that we are not living simply to preserve our good name or to stay out of trouble; instead, we are living our lives authentically by making letting our heart, our thoughts, and our actions be unified. This allows us to consistently make decisions that are healthy, positive, beneficial, and worthwhile, decisions that will make better individuals who do not allow ourselves to do things that are destructive or harmful. For when we base our decisions on the assumption that others will know what we have done, we do not have to do it just to appear like a good person in their eyes; we can do so because we want to be a good person and live a purposeful life.
And sometimes we get confused or fail to see which decision is best–especially if one of the decisions might benefit us in ways that are possibly unethical or that present a double standard. And perhaps it might benefit us here to elaborate upon Hugh’s words a bit and say, “Live as if everything you do will eventually be known by a child who trusts you completely to do what is right,” so that we might better see the gravity of our choices. Here, the consequences are much clearer, and therefore, our decisions are much easier to make.
It is important that we set some standards to live by so that our decisions are easier and better. In all actuality, we do not even have to live as if everything will eventually be known, for the truth is that all that we do is already known by us.
Proverbs 27:19, “As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the man.”
Let your actions today truly reflect your heart.
Questions to consider:
How often do you think about others finding out about things that you have done? Does that often help you?
What is the difference between fearing the judgment of others and wanting others to recognize the good in you?
What does it mean to you to think that everything you do eventually will be known by others?
For further thought:
“Peace of mind just can’t be bought. Trust me: Even if your conscience doesn’t stop you from playing dirty to get what you want, once you get it, it will keep you from enjoying it. As my mother used to say, “A good conscience is God’s eye.” Which is why I always prefer a loss to an underhanded gain; the one brings pain at the moment, the other for all time.” ~ Patti LaBelle, Patti’s Pearls: Lessons in Living Genuinely, Joyfully, Generously