Honor is generally defined as a positive response to achievement – going above and beyond what is normally expected of an individual in a given situation. When we speak of honoring an individual or a group of individuals, honoring them can include giving them gifts, recognition for years of service or extraordinary actions, or bestowing a title upon them.
Often, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence – a big celebration – and we may be witnesses from afar, watching the festivities on television or through an article in a newspaper or magazine. We may feel that we are not worthy of the same degree of honor that is afforded to the extraordinary individuals we see. In my lifetime, I’ve seen many honors given to my relatives, including my brothers, my father and my husband who all served in the Armed Forces.
We are used to honoring individuals and groups who accomplish extraordinary things – Olympic athletes, successful businessmen and businesswomen, elected representatives, and other skilled and intelligent people. No matter what the language or the country, everyone who hears about the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for instance, understands that this is an individual deserving of honor.
We honor those whose eyes give them the ability to see things differently – painters, designers, architects and more have been honored in various ways by their industry and by people who see the results of their hard work. We smile and wonder from where their talent comes – it seems to be something beyond simply studying a subject, though that is critically important to their success.
Honor is not just a once-in-a-lifetime quality – though recognition may be infrequent, honor can be practiced and earned daily – by what you say, what you do, and your actions. If you say that you are working to better your physical condition, and you stay focused on the daily activities that will help to improve your strength, aerobic fitness and flexibility, then you too are deserving of recognition, because you are honoring your word.
If you are committed to eating in a healthful manner and you eliminate the junk food and fast food from your eating plan, and instead concentrate on eating good food in reasonable quantities, with an occasional treat (instead of a constant diet of ‘treats’), then you too are deserving of recognition, because you are honoring your word.
If your actions and words are those which reinforce your positive efforts and even inspire others to join you in your healthy pursuits, then you are also deserving of recognition, because you are living your life and speaking truth to power – helping others along the way. This kind of activity is worthy of recognition and you are living in an honorable manner.
One of the greatest honors in anyone’s life is to earn and gain the respect of others – but don’t forget to respect yourself. When others show respect for who you are and what you represent on a daily basis, you can be justifiably proud of yourself and the honor which is bestowed upon you. You may never know how many people you affect by your actions, but even if the recognition is not from a stage in front of a crowd, you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished when someone tells you how much you motivate and inspire them.
When you hold firm to your ideals and your commitments, you are acting honorably toward yourself, and that too is deserving of recognition. Celebrate your achievements – every one of them, no matter how seemingly small – because building on those victories will help carry you forward to even more.