True to your heart

Character over reputation.

Photo from fbwallpics.

Photo from fbwallpics.

“Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, at the end of  The Scarlet Letter, reminds his readers to acknowledge their shortcomings, flaws and mistakes, and to avoid “the poor minister’s miserable experience.”

I guess I know my biggest flaw is my (relative) lack of moral courage. Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the ability of any person to be able to distinguish between right and wrong; to stay firm on his convictions; face the criticism of society on convictions, which he knows to be right; enables to defy the power of public opinion; enables to defy the foolish contempt of our societies.”

I can stand up for myself just fine. But when it come to other people being bullied, I kind of just move away and pretend nothing happened. And I know I’m not the only one. It’s this stigma surrounding the idea of standing up for others, that somehow you will end up being humiliated, being laughed at by society, being involved in something you’d rather not be. We walk away from the scene with this at-least-it-wasn’t-me feeling. Not doing anything just seems easier.

I know I shouldn’t, though. I know I should be standing up for them, helping them, defending them, because I would for myself. But I just can’t always bring myself to do it, because I’m afraid I’ll end up in that situation, and ruin my reputation.

But then again, what reputation do I have when I walk away from those in need? One for not helping others, for being egocentric. For being a coward and a bully, at the same time.

Not a bully that hurled fists and harsh words, but a silent bully. A silent bully that causes just as much harm, if not more.

In the end, you just have to recognize your flaws and make an effort to change. And as much as change is a difficult concept, I’m working on it as best as I can. On my mirror, I made myself a quote wall to remind myself of my place in this word, and on it is a quote that does a wonderful job of just that. I’d like for you to consider it, too.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

~John Wooden


8 thoughts on “True to your heart

  1. Pingback: Smiles and Kittens
  2. Stephanie says:

    Aye annie ❤ I haven't had time to comment on your blog yet because SCHOOl but i decided to stop by tonight and comment. i totally agree with everything you're saying; i often find myself not standing up for others because i'm afraid of being judged myself. i think this really needs to change because people could be inspired by our courage, and sometimes we need to think more about other people and how we can affect them rather than our own comfort/safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hashtagyeet says:

    Contrastingly, I find that my greatest weakness is standing up for myself. Yes, I can relate to your points also, but the fact of the matter is that I get “bullied” more than I see people being bullied. I don’t get bullied in the take-your-lunch money way, but more by people who don’t listen to what I’m saying and make fun of me for having an incorrect fact or, because of jealousy, try to beat me down for my accomplishments. I know firsthand that it’s a great feeling when someone steps in and takes my side to make the bully feel less empowered. You should definitely try to help people out when they’re being attacked because you never know when you might need the same favor returned!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. esterayyraujo says:

    I struggle with this too, along with many others, because as you said, we tend to end up taking the easy route even though it’s not always the right one (because we’re all cowards). And I think we make up excuses to avoid intervening in difficult situations. I usually tell myself that if I did intervene, it would probably blow up the situation and make it worse, but that excuse is LAME. For if I had issues with defending my self, I would be begging inside for someone to help me out, in any situation.
    It’s also ridiculous that by acting on our fears and flaws, we end up contradicting ourselves, like when you mentioned that by avoiding intervention in fear of ruining your reputation, you end up ruining it anyway by not intervening and not doing the courageous thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Milyon says:

    I love your blog and all the cat pictures (^ditto I guess). I definitely agree it’s hard for most of us to stand up for others (and sometimes ourselves), but I don’t really know if it’s just fear of judgement that stops me, but that definitely plays a major role.
    The quote at the end ( “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”) is something I’ve heard a lot throughout my life, and have tried to apply it to better myself, but the quote is easier said (or written) than practiced, but I think even making and effort shows the kind of person you are. Just trying to eliminate your major flaws, especially if it’s because you perceive them as hurting others, shows that you do have some moral courage, and you shouldn’t discount that. Social pressure sometimes prevents us from being the best version of ourselves, but hopefully, we (your friends) can grow with you, into a social pressure that promotes moral courage. That might just be hopeful thinking, but don’t feel too bad about yourself if you find it hard to stand up for others; the fact that you try shows the kind of person you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. elle says:

    Your blog is awesome. I love all the cat posts (haha).

    The statement “A silent bully that causes just as much harm, if not more.” really stood out to me. It reminds me of what someone once said to me, “There’s no such thing as an “innocent” bystander. In this case, by being a bystander, you have already received your call to “take action,” such as helping those in need.”
    Though, it’s extremely difficult to always have moral courage with social peer pressure, and even just the busyness of every day life so I can totally understand and relate to your post on many levels. Also, I definitely agree with your quote. Concentrating on changing yourself proves most beneficial.

    Liked by 1 person

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