The idea of honour is an ancient one that has been explored in philosophy, the classical arts, literature, psychology, and behaviourism. The concept is a loaded one as it does imply a level of judgment. To view an act as one of honour means that you have decided this particular situation, response, behaviour, position, or stand is one that reflects your personal views and values. Moreover, it means that you have assessed or judged something in an esteemed and respectable manner that is fitting for social admiration as well.
Honour is a thing to be admired, a higher standard to which you yourself aspire to maintain and uphold for the sake of your own wellbeing, and more importantly for the sake of others. Honour is awe-inspiring. It sets the basis upon which tales are told and shared within diverse cultures.
In this now fading time of “cancel culture”, making judgements has become risky. Party to superficial analysis and critique, your judgments run the risk of public censor even before you have had the time to fully develop your point of view. One of the unfortunate impacts of social media is the overly simplified manner in which information is both shared and understood.
All human languages are subtle and nuanced. They are filled with a multiplicity of meanings that may not fit within the techno-parameters set out by our increasingly digitized world. What you have you lost by a comment, text, or like? Who has wrongly judged you on the basis of your civil right to take a stand? What have we collectively lost even when one person’s right to speak up is silenced?
Acts of honour are often the topic of psychotherapy, albeit not identified as such. Parents, spouses, adolescents, and children will often speak up about situations in the home with which they may not agree. Depending on the developmental stage of the individual and the situation in which you may find yourself, your teens may truly view the dishonour in your activity and call you out accordingly.
Healthy homes have spaces for dissent and active dialogue where differences of opinions are safely expressed, shared, and discussed with repair and resolution as the intended goals. Healthy families understand that the ultimate end-game is love, support, and well-being. There may be years when family members disagree about situations, and perhaps dissolve.
Divorce is one real example where family members leave each other over irreparable situations. Thinking about your process of separation and divorce with this perspective of honour as the backdrop may in fact help you to move forward with less disruption than without this working paradigm.
Your actions will be judged by your family, friends, and most importantly your children. Every interaction and encounter with your loved ones as you move towards starting over as a single person again sets up an opportunity to act honourably or not. The decision is yours to make.
Most psychotherapists are trained to help you work through unresolved feelings about your spouse and family as you move through divorce, grief, financial ruin, or more. Reminding yourself about the role of honour in your life may help to guide your steps in ways that consider the needs of everyone involved and not just your own.
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Lisa Romano-Dwyer PhD, RSW, Owner
#wellness #honour #mentalhealth #healthy