This above all, be true to your own self...
As another year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at what a
year it has been. During the last eleven months, have you been true to
yourself? Have you taken decisions that you did not have to compromise
on...were there moments that you were less than true to yourself? We
live in times that constantly compel us to compromise. Values are no
longer what drive people. Money is. Mammon has become the god of all
things - great and small. It is so easy for most to board the train and
take a ride.
Shakespeare’s words in Hamlet - This above all, to thine own self be
true, ring hollow in most circles today. People are encouraged to seek
what they can, when they can for their own benefit and the rest be
damned. But something lingers - can you go to sleep peacefully if you
have done less than being true to your own self. Can you live with
yourself - what can I profit from if I can turn my back on my own-self?
Honesty and sincerity
Integrity was a word carved in stone for a generation long before us.
They lived by a creed of honesty and sincerity. They didn’t need to sign
legally valid documents to keep a promise - in the good old South of the
USA, back then, a gentleman’s word was his bond. You shook hands on it
and that was it. A word was kept, when given. A promise was a bond.
Being true to your own self was vital. Everything you did left a stamp
of your own personal integrity. To be less than that, was beneath one.
Our needs and wants have grown since those days - by leaps and
bounds. Our insatiable appetite for bigger, better things, faster,
fancier things have taken us on a journey of no return. We wonder how
some among us actually live with themselves. They have eagerly sold
their soul to consumerism. They understand and perceive the world
through one equation - it can be bought.
They forget though that the most precious things in life cannot and
will not be given a monetary value. You cannot put a price on love,
commitment, honesty, loyalty and faithfulness. Mammon will not get you
good health even though you could afford the latest medical treatment.
It will not get you true friends although it will get you plenty of
companions to have a good time with.
Ray of hope
There were traitors, dishonest men, conniving evil doers even back in
the days of the Great Bard. His storylines feature them in plenty. From
the evil Lady Macbeth to Brutus, they personified the characters of
selfish ambition. But they did not define the average person who was
defined by what he believed in, who he was.
We often wonder what kind of impressions we leave with the children.
It is difficult but not impossible to still come through good men and
women, people for whom integrity is something they live by. Not everyone
compromises on values that created societies and made them into some of
the world’s best. There are some let still intact and that should give
everyone a ray of hope.
When you are able to separate the wants from needs, you are able to
truly understand that yet another new acquisition will not make you
happier or better. Often, consumerism drives wants not needs. You keep
wanting the next big thing and spending on plastic is the easiest thing.
Never mind the debts will pile up but what matters is the fulfillment of
self, indulging in one gratification after another.
One of the reasons for the economic collapse and credit squeeze has
been identified as spending ‘what you did not have’. In a culture driven
by pure consumerism, it is easy to get carried away and in the process,
not be true to your own self. We could always ask ourselves before we
indulge ourselves in our next purchase - do I need this? Can I live
without it? If you can, it’s time to walk away.
Technology that connects the world through internet and smart phones
has added fuel to fire. You can shop on line and buy things from all
over the world. You no longer have to go out shopping, shopping has come
home to you.
And so we compromise on our values as we allow ourselves to be taken
over by unabashed consumerism and greed.
Yet there is hope. Even as the season looms ahead and 2012 looks set
to be a better year than 2011, let us hope that Mammon will not win out.