A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I couldn’t resist commenting on it. What do these commandments really mean?
Live without pretending. To me, this means being myself, without constantly comparing myself with others. It means that I don’t necessarily have to subscribe to generally accepted ideals promoted by society. I don’t need to be a certain way to gain “approval” by any person or group. I am unashamed of who I am and what I have or haven’t accomplished in life.
Love without depending. This kind of love in unconditional. I don’t have to depend on my loved-one to be or act a certain way. I can go forward in my life whether or not my loved on is physically near me. My feelings of self-worth are not tied up in my being in a relationship. I am perfectly worthy, whether I am with someone or by myself. My love does not set boundaries on myself or on my beloved.
Listen without defending. It often happens that when someone starts to express opinions that I do not share, I feel this irresistible urge to interrupt and set the other person straight. Or when someone is critiquing my work – especially if it is my writing – I feel the urge to defend my choice of wording or my point of view. It’s tough to get through these situations, but I have learned that when I can manage to keep my mouth shut, I will often be rewarded with some valuable information that I can use to make improvements or to expand my worldview.
Speak without offending. It’s impossible to do this 100% of the time, because some people just seem to choose to be offended about every little thing. However, I have noticed that if I avoid saying things too directly or too forcefully, people are less inclined to be offended. These days I often couch my advice in sentences that start out, “You may wish to consider….” I am also more inclined to use sentences with “we” than with “you” in them. I have learned that offending people gets in the way of the message, because when you offend people, they simply turn you off. And, as I was reminded yet again today on Facebook, if you have a choice of being “right” or being “kind,” it is much better all around to choose kindness.
They key, of course, is to keep all this in mind every single day. What a challenge! 🙂