Being True to Yourself Series – Part 3. Right – wrong: is it a matter of perspective?

A/N – I’ m delighted to have Bob McInnis as my very first guest blogger.

Right – wrong: is it a matter of perspective?

While I believe there are some absolutes, I am less certain about a lot of things. I read voraciously, listen attentively, think deeply, reflect and synthesize. The condensed product bears a resemblance to the original ideas and witness to a subtle and supple value set. As a recovering postmodern fundamentalist, I lived for decades with a clear, if not personally interpreted, set of rights and wrongs. In 2000, a shift happened in my belief structure (which is a whole different post) but an idea horizon was created and I can never return to that self-satisfied and self-assured state.

So, on this side of the divide, how do I manage truth, fact, discernment and right or wrong? In unfamiliar situations, I am careful, thoughtful and cautious. My understanding is informed by my current values and available information. I do make decisions quickly but my rigorous defence is less strident. If new information disrupts the value pattern, I rethink and where possible re-enact the choice. In familiar circumstances, I think the process is similar but feels more intuitive; as if I can blink and true is revealed (or not).

Regardless, testing right or wrong should be a habit we adopt in every situation. Is the decision just? For me? For others involved? Is it ecological? Does it conform to confirm the values you espouse and aspire to? Will you celebrate or regret the choice in one day, one week, one year? Are you committed to making the right choice? Even when the wrong one is easier? If yes (or no) are you prepared to accept the consequences?

I have applied a current burden of proof to the idea that we are all both responsible for our actions and complicit in the side effects of our inaction. I believe this is right. I have adopted a principle, which I first saw posted in the San Francisco airport “If you see something, say something.” Even though the poster was from the Department of Homeland security, I have expanded it into a wider vision. If I see anything that is immoral, illegal, hurtful, abusive, unsafe or manipulative I name it loudly. This approach isn’t without consequences. I have lost friends, caused a ruckus and received a black eye for my troubles, but from my wider perspective, it has always been well worth it.

Right-wrong: it is a matter of perspective. Yours. You arrive at the decision point, with the sum total of your knowledge, experience and biases. If you put the choice to a factual burden of proof, as best you can and apply the personal rigor above, you will be blessed with discernment and confidence to choose right from wrong in each situation.

You’ll find  more great reads from Bob MInnis on his blog.

Making a difference – by Michelle Hanton

When I talk to people about the work that Lifeline does, people often say ‘I would really like to help, but I really don’t see what I can do that would make a difference’.  It is true that when we look at the big picture of how much there is to do in the field of crisis support and suicide prevention it is very easy to become overwhelmed and think “I cannot possibly make a difference.”

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However, when we chunk things into smaller pieces and everyone plays a small part it soon adds up to make a huge difference.  For instance it is volunteers who provide as little as 2 hours a month to help with the shop, answer calls on the 13 11 14  crisis line, collect and sort through donations, cut up rags for sale  and help plan events that keep us functioning. Collectively those few hours have an enormous impact on our suicide prevention and crisis support services.

Right now Lifeline Top End is in desperate need of financial help to be able to meet the ever increasing demands on our face to face counselling service.  Very few clients are in a position to pay,  so naturally the service is provided at no cost for the vast majority.

I got to thinking that maybe,  just maybe, each of our LIKERS might consider a donation of $5. Collectively we would raise sufficient funds to allow us to increase our counselling services by one extra day a week.

A $5 donation is no more than a single cup of coffee that is quickly forgotten whereas $5 donated to Lifeline helps save lives – a life is priceless!

Lifeline’s service crosses all boundaries so if you are in a position to make a donation, no matter how small (or large) it would be most appreciated.

I’m not backward in coming forward to asking for your support because the worst thing that can happen is you will ignore me but the best thing is you might decide to get on board – and that would be wonderful!

It all starts with the individual – so, if you are in a position to make a donation, volunteer, hold an event or support Lifeline in another way I would love to hear from you and/or click here to donate-  receipt (tax deductible) is also issued at the same time.
Michelle