“Nothing stays the same. You are either moving forward or falling back.” - American Proverb
“The first lie is the hardest. After that they come easier and easier.” - L.R.E. Montgomery
How often do we “dabble” with negativity? The little “white lie” here or there that makes life a bit easier this moment. The bit of gossip that wins us a sympathetic ear. The self pity that we toy with when we isolate ourselves. Allowing ourselves to act in anger knowing we are doing it just to intimidate someone and get what we want. Flirtation when we have no business engaging in it. Holding onto a grudge or two and using them to our advantage later. The list goes on. When we have done any work to improve upon our spiritual condition we start developing those “alarm bells” that go off when we first start engaging in a behavior that will ultimately bring us harm. In many cases, we are simply re-awakening them after years of ignoring that small still voice within. But one thing is for sure. The first time we hear the voice we have to make a conscious effort to over-ride it. With each subsequent time the voice grows fainter and fainter until we don’t even hear it anymore. And each time we indulge in the negative behavior it seems to escalate – we justify slightly worse behavior each time because the consequences didn’t seem that severe the last time. Before we know it that few white lies have turned us into a liar, cutting a few corners has turned us into a thief, indulging in self pity has led to a victim mentality and sharing a juicy tidbit now and then has turned us into a gossip. There is only one direction these behaviors seem to go – they get significantly worse as time goes by. And the worst part? The fact that we have rationalized them time after time as they have escalated has us in complete denial about what we have become.
These certainly are not “sins” like murder or armed robbery. But there is a cumulative effect both within ourselves and on those we interact with most. Over time we gradually erode the respect and trust in all of our relationships, including that relationship we have with ourself. We begin withholding love and using our attention as a bargaining chip to get what we want from others. And yet, who among us is as clean as the driven snow? None of course. We all fall short of the ideal – and we all do it on a daily basis. This is why it is so important to take a bit of time each evening to review our day, looking for those times when we cheated ourselves and others of what we could have offered. Over time, these small course corrections have a big impact on the direction we are heading in – a much bigger one than any grand decisions or “resolutions.” And it is not a big deal to do – after all, we don’t need to do it forever. We just need to do it today.
Today, may I be vigilant.
Happy Tuesday !!
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