Are you an honorable man in today’s world? I would guess that 99% of you think you are, but in reality, less then 4% of Americans can make that claim. Lets see if you’re one of the really few who know how to be honorable in today’s world.
Let’s talk about what is honor before we go any further? According to Brett McKay from The Art of Manliness, it is defined as:
“Honour is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride.”Brett McKay from The Art of Manliness,
According to Brett who in my opinion has the best articles on this topic (Manly Honor), and now a book as well, having honor is a combination of living with Integrity and having respect from others who value it.
In other words, integrity are the values we live by everyday, and honor is the reward for living to those standards. To make it really simple. How to be honorable simply means living with integrity.
In society, many organizations have defined their “honor” code and men who want to be part of that organization would take an oath to live to that code.
Most codes vary a little but most should have these 3 core traits:
Righteousness, Truthfulness, and Courage.
Righteousness is simply always striving to do the right thing. To be willing to support and fight for a cause. To make the lives of others better, often through personal sacrifice.
Too many religions try to convince others that they should be looked upon as the ones who define righteousness. I disagree as many religious organizations define integrity very differently and who is to say which is right. In fact, righteousness has little to do with religion or God, and everything to do with having values and compassion for others.
I believe to be righteous, you need to live your life to a moral code well above the norms of society. When presented with a choice, you choose the morally correct and justifiable decision.
Too many people create a false image of righteousness to the world but privately live a life that is quite different. Righteous is not a image you wear in public or something that you can take on and off at will. It is not a title before or after your name, or a position you hold. It’s a core part of who you are and defines your direction in life.
To be righteous is to be willing to serve others with no regard for reward, to live with great restraint, and to be proud of each and every decision you make as you live your life everyday.
Being truthful is not only about being honest and always telling the truth (facts). My simple definition of being truthful is simply not trying to deceive someone else.
Truth is a very strange thing in the human brain. Two people can remember the same situation with 2 very different viewpoints, and both of their positions can be considered honest and truthful. This is simply because neither are trying to lie or be deceitful in their position. Its just how they remember the facts.
I personally defined truthfulness this was because we live in a society that is very focused on bending the truth in so many ways to deceive others, but it is often called ‘truthful’ because the facts may still have some bearing to the truth. This is why I define it simply as not being deceitful towards others.
Being honest with yourself is just as important as being honest with other people. To put it another way, you can’t be honest to others if you are first not honest with yourself. This very simple motto cannot be overstated. Our brains can be convinced a lie is true sometimes just because we want it to be true. To avoid this problem, we should always start by not viewing the situation with any personal bias or ‘rose colored glasses’.
To be honest with yourself, you should learn who you really are on the inside. Never strive to be somebody else as this is just another way to deceive yourself of the truth and rob yourself of true happiness.
The last part about being truthful is to always make your actions match your words. If you display a generous and helpful person, make sure your actions towards others are always generous and helpful. If you say you will do something, then you must do it. Saying one thing but doing another is lying to everyone, including yourself.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” Simply put, courage is the act of conquering your fears.
So how does courage relate to being honorable? In the military, courage is at the foundation of their values and core to the integrity of being a soldier. As a civilian, standing up for your values and integrity requires courage, and your honor demands this.
Being honorable is very hard work! Throughout your life, you will constantly be tempted to take the easy path and compromise your integrity.
The id, ego, and superego are names for the three parts of the human personality which are part of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic personality theory. According to Freud, the id constantly is seeking instant gratification for our wants and needs.
The id never stops and never takes a break trying to convince you to put your wellbeing above others. It takes real courage and willpower to overcome this instinct and to live a life of integrity. To put the needs of others before your own, and to always be willing to risk something you value for righteousness.
Historic Honor Codes on How to be Honorable
So what is the code you live by? Do you have it written down and ingrained to your personality? Learning how to be honorable requires you to live by an honor code that either you make or one borrowed from an honorable organization.
Throughout history, organizations of men have had a code that all valued and were expected to live by, every day of their lives. These were well known and core to how they all lived their lives. Below are some examples to help you create your personal values and honor code.
The Samurai Code of Honor, This code of honor is known as Bushido, and comes from the word bushi, which means “warrior.” The Japanese word do means “the way.” So Bushido means, “the way of the warrior.
Victorian honor code
Victorian morality is the foundation for some modern religions (Evangelicals come to mind, National Association of Evangelicals). Notice the absence of truthfulness, honor, and integrity from their website?
- And above all “taste”.
Marine’s Honor Code
- to never lie, cheat, or steal;
- to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity;
- to respect human dignity;
- to have respect and concern for each other.
From the movie Kingdom of Heaven.
- Be without fear in the face of your enemy
- Be brave and upright so that God may love you
- Speak the truth, always, even if it leads to your death
- Safe guard the helpless, and do no wrong.
Pirate Honor Code
Even pirates had an code that each pirate must live to or face drastic punishments. This may not be considered honorable compared to other organizations but did have a sense of honor and respect within the membership.
- Equal Voting Rights
- Fair share of the loot and pirates punishments for those who cheated
- Gambling was banned
- No lights at night – a pirates sleep should not be disturbed
- Each pirate was responsible for the upkeep of their weapons
- No Boys or women allowed on board
- Penalty for Desertion
- No fighting between pirates on board the ship
- A Pension according to the severity of wounds
- Shares of the loot or booty
- Musicians available to play when required.
Do you know now how to be honorable in today’s world? Why should you live a life of honor and integrity? Because it makes you proud of yourself, it gives you self respect, and there is nothing more valuable in this world!
So many people today try to project an honorable image of themselves, and then seek honor and respect from everyone around them. But they fail to get the respect of the one person who really matters, themselves!
These people can lower the bar and say they are better then others, or sometimes lie to themselves and convince themselves they are doing the right thing, but these lies never last. The truth comes out and we all must face it at some point when living in a lie.
I find it best to live a life of integrity and self respect and leave the judgement (and honor) to God to judge me when the time comes. Nothing materialistic is worth more then my honor.
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