I read an article from a recent Oprah magazine featuring an interview with late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel. Oprah asked Jimmy “On which truths would you stake your life?” (Winfrey, 2018). Predictably, he responded with a joke… something about never putting ketchup on hotdogs… but then he answered seriously “do unto others…”. The golden rule. Good one. But the question resonated with me more than the response because I feel so strongly about my convictions and truths that I have often gone toe-to-toe with people who, in my opinion, are just plain wrong. The answer to this huge question is uniquely personal to all of us, but I believe that it tells a lot about who we are, and why we do what we do, every single day. I also think that it is important to consider what we stand for, and what we don’t, from time-to-time to check in with our own moral compass.
The truths that I would stake my own life on are simple. I believe that you should always try to do the right thing, even if it’s hard and people get mad at you. I believe in honesty, fairness, equality, human rights, and animal rights, and I will do my best to advocate for those in need when I feel that there is an infringement on those rights. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance (after that, it’s a crap shoot), and even though it can be difficult, it is both necessary and important, to forgive others who have hurt you. You have to do it for yourself, not for them.
I’ve definitely made mistakes that I wish I could change. Looking back, I thought that I did the best that I could at the time, but regrettably I could have done better. If I did, I think my life would be completely different than it is now. I could have been braver, trusted more, fought harder, or let go faster. Live and learn. I think that it is extremely important to forgive ourselves for past mistakes, and try to not live life with regret/guilt/shame…these things can haunt you forever if you allow them to; trust me, I know.
Last but not least, a final truth that I would stake my life on is this…I believe that all DOGS are gifts from God, and if they are vicious, it is (only) because they have been treated cruelly and inhumanly by a human(s). Dogs will never judge you for making mistakes, they won’t talk about you to others to sully your reputation; they are always happy to see you, and they jump and wag their tail every time you come home from a long work day, or even just a short walk to the mail box… it’s like having a daily welcome home party! And they always love us even if we are far from perfect.
So I ask you…on which truths would you stake your life?
Winfrey, O. (2018, April). A stand-up guy. Oprah Magazine, 19(4), pp 120-121.