We are often told to be kind, to love and to speak the truth. Yet, while it is right for us to do so, we are rarely told to be true to ourselves, to be honest with ourselves and to protect ourselves first. It is easy to get caught up in a world in which our attention is focused on everybody and everything else but ourselves. Therefore, we need to follow certain rules to ensure that in doing the right thing, we do not sacrifice our priorities, we are not taken for granted and we protect ourselves as well.
1) Give, but don’t allow yourself to be used or exploited.
Giving is no doubt good, but there are people who will abuse and exploit your generosity. Give whatever you want to give, whether money, material things or service, but use discrimination in doing so. Otherwise you expose yourself to being used or exploited.
2) Trust, but don’t be naive or have blind trust.
Otherwise you will expose yourself to being cheated, especially by those, in whom you have placed your trust, who have no scruples whatsoever.
Don’t be gullible.
3) Love, but don’t allow your heart to be abused.
Pure love is liberating. It doesn’t bind us. But when attachment is mistaken for love, we get bound and expose ourselves to abuse and exploitation. Remember: The entity to which we are intensely attached to, that very entity becomes the cause of our biggest sorrow, misery and pain. So protect yourself.
Never ever allow anyone to take you for granted.
4) Listen, but don’t lose your voice and focus and get carried away by what you hear.
Use your intellect and analyse before arriving at any conclusion.
5) Speak, but don’t be unkind in your words.
“A lack of compassion is as vulgar as an excess of tears.”
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
– Lady Dorothy Nevill
6) Believe, but don’t trust every word you hear.
Don’t have blind belief. Don’t believe everything you see or hear. Appearances can be deceptive. Our senses and the mind can deceive us. There could be more to it than meets the eye. Use the intellect and analyse what you hear before acting on it.
7) Hope, but never expect.
Of course, man lives on hope, but having expectations about the future may lead to disappointments if it doesn’t come up to our expectation. Do your best and leave the rest to Him. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, come what may and whatever is destined not to happen, will never happen, try as much.
8) Look forward, but never wait.
Don’t be afraid of moving slowly. Only be afraid of standing still. Keep moving. Life is a flow. Time doesn’t stop in its incessant flow. So don’t stagnate.
9) Care, but don’t neglect yourself.
Caring for others is a good thing, but if we neglect ourselves, we will not be in a position to take care of others. Help yourself first to help others.
10) Learn and never stop learning.
Don’t be afraid that you do not know something. Be afraid of not learning about it. We need to learn from our mistakes and more importantly, from others’ mistakes, because we will not live long enough to commit all the mistakes. Never repeat the same mistake again. We are allowed to commit a new error in judgement.
“Learning is acquired by reading books, but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading human beings and studying all the various editions of them.”
– Lord Chesterfield
“Our attitude towards ourselves should be “to be insatiable in learning”, and towards others “to be tireless in teaching.”
– Mao Zedong
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.
– Alvin Toffler