“Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.”

~Dave Willis

Taking personal responsibility for your life is the most challenging and freeing thing you’ll ever do.

At first, it seems like a nearly impossible task with a lot of time spent catching yourself doing things out of habit instead of choice.

But one day, someone will be rude, mean, thoughtless, or careless and instead of reacting the way you always have, you’ll pause for a second and consciously chose your next action.

The pause between stimulus and action is powerful.

With chaos whirling about you, you’ll still be who you want to be—who you chose to be.

That’s a freedom that no one can ever take from you.

The current political environment has sparked more fear than typical in the world. Those who are filled with hate are expressing it at a level and width we in North America haven’t seen up close in a while.

And it’s easy to see how people want to withdraw in fear.

I can’t tell you that everything will work out without more people being harmed. That’s what the majority of people want, but life isn’t passive. We can’t sit back, have a want, and think that we don’t have to take action.

What we can do is take more personal responsibility, pause more often between something that happens and our response to it, and consciously choose who we are each time we act.

Don’t confuse respect with support.

If one person is hurting others, you can respect that he is human and should not be tortured, starved, or denied medical care. Having respect still allows for actions that stop hateful and senseless violence and prejudice against yourself and others.

Anytime you feel afraid, overwhelmed, or uncertain, remember that there is power in taking a breath and choosing your next action—freedom in being who you choose to be at all times.