By Lynn Seiser

This column honors all those worthy of being honored. Those of you who are honest know who you are. We are in awe of people who walk into a room and radiate a sense of honor. There is a military slogan, Death before dishonor. Honor is important. What is it and how do we get it? There are award shows that honor people for different reasons. We have Mother's and Father's Days to honor our parents. I hope you all send cards, call and spend time with your parents.

Honor has several meanings. It is defined as a high regard or respect as in glory or fame. Honor can mean an adherence to principles that are considered right such as honesty, fairness, integrity, bravery and courage. Honor can also be a title given to a high-ranking official such as a judge.

Honor is a way of life, said Shakespeare, in Richard II. Mine honour is my life; both grow as one; Take hon-our from me, and my life is done To build a life worthy of honor you must lead an honorable life. Honor is not something asked for or given because of the role one plays. Honor can never be taken from you and you can never force another to honor you. What we can do is live an honorable life that others will find worthy of to freely give honor.

The definition I find most useful is the adherence to principles considered right. What are those principles? Lets start with obligation, justice and courage .

Honor is the acceptance of our obligations. We have an obligation, a duty, to repay all debts and return all favors. By accepting the role of father or mother, boss or employee, teacher or student, husband or wife, we have the obligation to fulfill our role to the best of our ability. We give each other our all.

There is no honor in cheating, lying, or stealing. Honor is living a life of justice. Honor is doing the right thing even if it isnt popular and is the hardest alternative available. Justice and honor means no matter what the circumstance or excuse, to always do the right thing. Because others do not live by a code of justice doesnt give us permission to also take the easy way. Honor is not always easy, but it is always just and right. There is no honor in many of the ways people do things to feel better about themselves. A false code of justice and honor only leads to random violence, addiction, and deceit. If you have to hide what you are doing, then it probably isnt honorable.

To do the right thing in the face of unpleasant consequences takes courage. Courage is facing our fears and doing the right thing. There is no courage in doing what we do not fear. Courage always implies facing our fears and not letting them stop us. It takes more courage to love and forgive than to hate and retaliate. It takes courage to face the world clean and sober. It takes courage to change. It takes courage to ask for help and to give it compassionately. It takes courage to realize that doing the right thing doesnt mean you are always right. It takes courage to admit we were wrong and to say we are sorry.

To live an honorable life you must put your honor into action. An honorable life means to be truthful in all of your dealings. It means to be courteous to each other no matter what the life situation. It means to exercise restraint over your emotions and reaction so you dont abuse or exploit each other through power and control. Honor is about being loyal to all those to whom you have made an obligation. This includes your mate and children, your employer and coworkers, your community and your planet. By honoring them through your loyalty they will honor and be loyal to you. Yes, what we give is what we receive. What goes around comes around. Honor is to always be of service to each other. John F. Kennedy once said, Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country True honor does not come from how many people serve you, but how many and how well you serve them. Honor comes from letting go of self-centered egotistical thoughts and giving.

This column honors all those who live their lives worthy of honor. I hope this has been of some small service in helping you define honor as a way of life governed by a code of accepting your obligations, justice and courage. Define your code of life to include truthfulness, courtesy, restraint, loyalty and service. Many people quietly live by these codes already. I hope you will too. Remember, the secret of being honored is to live an honorable life.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service and for sharing this journey.

Lynn Seiser Ph.D. is an internationally respected therapist, consultant, speaker and writer in recovery counseling for offender and victims of violence, trauma and abuse. He is well known for his work in "holistic" recovery from addictions and his emphasis on "healthy" relationships. To discuss the benefits of his services, to make a referral, or to schedule an appointment please contact him at 550 Pacific Coast Hwy., Suite 203, Seal Beach, CA 90740-6601 USA. (562)799-1371, FAX (562) 596-1892 E-mail: . You can also view his Web page:,htm .

Return to the July/August Index page