Of all the states of character we might crave, respect just about tops the list. Credibility is what we yearn for, for in credibility we have safety and honour. Deeper beneath that further still, with credibility, we have acceptance. Nothing can mean more to us than the prize of social-acceptance. But self-acceptance must come first.
The way we establish credibility and earn respect, just as persons, is we work on the traits of trustworthiness.
The most important self-development factor, which is also the most basic and the hardest to accomplish, without doubt, is to know ourselves; everything, even the dark bits.
From self-knowledge, which increases exponentially through life, in tandem with our experience, we have the tenets and gifts of self-discovery. Truly, the moment lays open the keys to insight and discernment. But if we do not know ourselves, and haven’t courageously opened lines of communication with ourselves, we will not see or hear the precious information that can be known.
Contingent on knowing ourselves, of course, is knowledge of the Divine—to know God. For example, we cannot truly accept ourselves and move on in self-knowledge without first coming to grips with the mystery that is life. Knowing God is to know, at some level, a mystery. The capacity to accept and bear mysteries is an important competency in self-knowledge.
When we know ourselves, and we can assess each of our performances impartially, we can adjust in the moment. Becoming trustworthy is making adjustments to the beat of the drum of truth.
We must routinely align our feeling and thinking and acting.
Aligning Feeling And Thinking And Acting
This is something never done perfectly, but we can do it capably enough as we attend, with intention, each of our moments. This is self-awareness and self-management, as well as social-awareness and social-management. It is emotional intelligence in operation.
It’s the capacity to know what we feel, and either bear the feelings via inner strength or be totally transparent about our feelings.
When feelings and thinking are misaligned people sense we’re not being honest. They quickly, even unconsciously, attribute us as untrustworthy. The only way we convince people we’re trustworthy is if we’re transparent about our feelings or we have the powers of nondisclosure—a thing requiring sound self-knowledge and self-acceptance.
When we’re aware of our feelings, and we can cater for them in truth, and feelings contribute toward our thinking, and in unison, as a credible person, we act.
Trustworthy people in life have aligned their feelings and thinking and acting. There are no visible secrets. They are safe to be around. Being trustworthy is about self-alignment and truth. It is the surest way to respect.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.