11 January 2012

What Do I Stand for?

I believe that it’s true that we have to decide over and over just what we stand for in life.  I believe we have to decide constantly because what we think, what we believe, and what we feel changes as we grow older and learn more about life and more about ourselves.  It seems to me as I meet and get to know more older people, I learn how important it is to trust ourselves, to trust our hearts, and to trust our intuition.  And these parts of ourselves can help us to learn just what we stand for in life.

Do we stand for honesty?  Integrity?  Fairness?  Kindness?  All of the above?  None of the above?  We all have certain areas that affect us more strongly than others, certain topics that make us feel more strongly, that arouse our passions, much more than other areas do.  When we learn to recognize what they are and to trust our feelings about them, then we can start to learn what we stand for in life.

It’s hard to conceive of someone standing for the same things at 80 as he or she stood for at 20.  I know that in my life, my thoughts and ideas and passions have changed considerably over the last few decades.  There are certain things that I considered to be extremely important years ago that no longer feel so urgent to me, and other things that are much more pressing.  For example, the tendency to encourage other people was very weak in me when I was younger because I didn’t think that anyone would be affected by my encouragement back then.  Now, though, I realize that it’s important to encourage others because I have no idea at all what will affect them and what won’t.  And there’s a good chance, I’ve learned, that my encouragement will be not only heard, but helpful.

Many people prefer not to stand for anything, choosing instead to allow life to go on without thinking about their own contribution to it all.  And because they never really consider the contributions that they’re making–or could be making–they often end up not contributing at all.  Taking, probably, but contributing, no.

I hope that when the end of my life here on this planet rolls around, I can look back and say that I really stood for something, that I tried to teach others about something very important.  And it won’t matter if what I stood for at 20 was the same as what I stood for in my 60’s–as long as I’ve examined my heart and my conscience and trusted what they had to tell me about where I should stand and what I should do.

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