I know how it is. When you first decide to change yourself and live a different way, you might try to turn others to your new ways as well. I’m here to tell you, DON’T.
Most people don’t want to look at their own shortcomings. Most people don’t want to see the world for how it truly is. Most people don’t want to be talked to about living virtuously because that’s not the way that they want to live.
I used to tell all of my friends about how I decided to live by a moral code or how I wanted to live more health consciously. I’d try and explain how doing so changes your life for the better and all that good stuff, but what was I trying to accomplish, really?
Did I really want to convert my peers to a life of virtue, or was I just trying to say the part, hoping that it would make me the part? What are the intentions behind it? You see, that’s the whole point. It’s about living it and not just saying it.
If you’re out there preaching and trying to awaken the sheep, chances are you’re just trying to associate yourself with righteous ideals. Are you living what you’re preaching? If not, whatever it is you’re saying will never be taken seriously, and if that’s the case, nobody is going to listen anyways.
Sometimes I’d be with my friends and they would point out the times when I wasn’t living the way that I had been preaching that one should live. In times like that, you have just defeated your whole cause and why would anyone take you seriously? Your a hypocrite.
It’s better just to keep your mouth shut and do what you’re supposed to do so you don’t go about embarrassing yourself. Change is difficult and you’re going to fail sometimes. It’s better not to build up how virtuously you live verbally, and to just build it up internally through right action.
I’ve talked about it hundreds of times, and failed hundreds of times. I’ve found it better to lose or win silently. Being a virtuous person doesn’t happen because you told everyone you would be. It happens when you ARE virtuous, by BEING virtuous.
I’m sure in your life you have discovered someone or heard about someone who did good deeds behind the scenes. Didn’t that make you respect that person more then those who tell everyone about what good things they do?
I for one respect the silent do-gooders more because they aren’t seeking attention or validation. They don’t need to tell other people that they’re good, they just are good. People who are good don’t feel the need to tell the world about it because they do it for themselves and not for the validation.
Also think of a time when you saw someone act virtuously and how that made you feel as opposed to listening to someone talk about being virtuous. I’m sure that you seeing the virtuous action impacted you more than being told that you should do good things. The same applies to you and the people in your life. The people in your life are more likely to respect you when they see you act virtuously as opposed to hearing you talk about it.
It seems to me that those who proclaim righteousness are usually the ones who you must be the most careful with. Those people make me think of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Pretending to be something they are not to hide what they really are behind a mask of virtue.
If you want to be virtuous and live according to your own beliefs, then just do it and avoid talking about it or trying to sway others to your opinions on what is the best way to live. It will be a fruitless effort unless the person you are talking to has a genuine interest in changing the way that they live.
Talking about it doesn’t make you that way. Talking about it doesn’t make people live the way you think people should live. Don’t impose your beliefs on others. Lead by example and expect no reward.
“Know you not that a good man does nothing for appearance sake, but for the sake of having done right?” – Epictetus