Being a good person is sometimes very hard. Especially when mad. The point of morality though, is to do the right thing, even when under stress.
This is why I describe Humanism as a practice. Yes. It’s a philosophy. But it’s also a moral framework through which I make decisions. This framework is only useful – if I actually use it.Most of the time, that is easy. But sometimes it isn’t. Like when I get mad. It’s very hard to see the humanity in people who scare me and make me mad. Because let’s be clear – we get mad when we get scared.
Knowing this about myself and about everyone really, helps me to step back from my anger and think about the fear that is driving it so that I can think more rationally and therefore compassionately about the situation I find myself in.
Sure, I could blame the people scaring me. Or … I can remind myself to put my Humanism into practice and practice what I preach. Sometimes this is easier to do than others. But it is always eventually doable if I keep reminding myself that I should act in accordance with my values.
Do I do this perfectly? Oh heck no. No one does. This leaves all of us open to being called a hypocrite. And we all are. Every one of us. The next time you go all holier than thou on someone and you are ready to call them a hypocrite. Don’t. Look in the mirror first. In order to claim the moral high ground, you must first be moral. And that means, stepping back from your anger, reminding yourself of your values and making a conscious decision to use your values in deciding how best to respond to the situation that is scaring you and making you angry. The goal is to not kill your values with the very hands you use to defend them. It’s a challenge to be sure, but taking on that challenge is what it means to be a moral person.
To learn more about how to more effectively live by your values – take my course – Living Made Simpler.