For most people, the concept of honor is one of those archaic concepts that conjures images of hoity-toity Englishmen from the 18th Century slapping one another in the face with a white glove and declaring duels. We’re a far cry from the old days of culturally-validated honor systems but honor still plays an important role in the lives of men today. But what the heck is honor anyway?
Most dictionary definitions of honor associate it with a high degree of respect or esteem, a privilege, or even a sense of entitlement. The whole concept of honor plays into a very instinctual sense of tribal politics where females, by their nature as the carriers of life and the next generation, have a certain innate sense of purpose and place in the community while males, who exist in a social hierarchy, must earn their place and prove their worth. Traditional concepts of honor in both east and west attempt to capture what it means to be a man of value and worth to the culture and tribe to which you belong.
The Western world doesn’t hold to the same traditional concepts of honor like, say, the east Asian cultures. Instead a man’s value or worth is often perceived by his wealth, social status, and ability to provide value. But in the context of our daily lives, the most important aspects of honor are the respect you earn from family members, your children, and the people you share your life with. These are the people who respect you and they often hold this respect because of your honor.
Honor encapsulates concepts like honesty, integrity, and being true to your word. A man’s honor is said to be his trustworthiness and respectability. We respect, admire, and honor men who uphold these core values. Many cultures have included other concepts into honor but the root of all honor systems is integrity.
So the question is… Are you proud of your honor?
If you were to stand before your family and community, would you feel proud and honorable? Are you trustworthy, truthful, sincere, genuine, and dependable? That’s the type of person people want around, after all. If the answer is no, then you’ve found yourself on a quest to regain your honor.
Today’s world doesn’t require you to launch a bear hunt or a military campaign or even participate in a duel in order to regain honor points. All people ask of you today is to take pride in yourself, to care for those around you, and to be impeccable with your word. Those are things you can start doing right now, today. Learn to make amends with those you have caused harm. Tell the honest truth and when you say you’ll do something, follow through and do it. These simple daily actions and ways of living will not only help you to regain the trust and honor you may have lost with a lifetime of bad choices, but the confidence and self-esteem you’ll develop for yourself via these personal improvements will turn you into a whole new man, a man who can overcome addiction and return to the world with a force and a fury to be admired and commended.
As you learn to get back on your feet, think of the noble men you admire who uphold a sense of honor. It may be hard to find good examples in the chaos of the world today but history has some incredible examples of honor that we can turn to when looking for inspiration and role models.
Find your sense of integrity and truth and slowly build the honor you and your community so badly need.