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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Am I Like I Am?

The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. 
Zig Ziglar

Do you ever wonder why you are like you are? Why you react the way you do to circumstances? I do and I have given it some thought and done some introspective searching. It could come from my past when I was growing up. It could come from my heritage and it could come from making mistakes along the way, my environment and life lessons. I have friends from different cultural backgrounds and while they think and react differently than I do we have many of the same core values and respect each other for our differences. I think it boils down to core values and while I can see many Irish traits as I go through life and the experiences it throws my way I think it is the core values that determine your success and happiness. 

I remember when I was a child that my mother used to tell me if I told the truth I wouldn't have to worry about remembering what I said. I hear that on the TV show from Judge Judy all the time and it is good that she imparts that life principal to others because some people never do learn that. Sig Zigler has it right in his quote above. What he describes is a person with good character. All life lessons culminate into his quote and along the way there are choices and some will be good choices and some not so good. The goal is to learn from making the bad choices and not repeat them again. 

I believe that being of Irish heritage has much to do with my current behavior and the way I conduct myself. It is something ingrained within me that I can't run or hide from. I have a very strong sense of justice and I rail and push back against injustice. I can't seem to keep it hidden and it surges forward and for me to deny that would be like pushing the ocean tide back. Us Irish are friendly and fun loving and don't take life too seriously. It is just the way we are. It is claimed that we Irish like to fight and are heavy drinkers and that is not true. We mostly try to avoid fighting but when the fight is brought to us we will most certainly fight back if the problem can't be resolved peacefully. In short when pushed too far we will fight and we fight hard. 

It is claimed we Irish are all heavy drinkers. Another myth. In our culture we gather at pubs for a little ale to socialize and have fun. Only those Irish who buy into the myth that our breed are heavy drinkers do such. Normally we simply enjoy a brew and good conversation without over indulging. It is also claimed the Irish are a little on the ignorant side but that too is false. Because the Irish are fun loving and don't take life as seriously as some others might that dog just won't hunt. Some of the most brilliant people I have met have been Irish. My roommate in the Air Force was Irish and went to MIT due to his brilliance. 

I think being Irish plays a role in who and what I am and to try to run from it or muffle it only tends to make me something I am not. Like being Italian, French, English or Native American we all have ingrained characteristics that have been bred into us from birth that we should acknowledge. It is this individual uniqueness that we need to be true to and I personally find it refreshing and welcome those who may be different than I am. It is in combination with them that I find growth and value in life. We compliment and contrast each other and in the end make each other a better people. 

In today's culture where diversity is promoted it is easy to lose your personal culture by striving to be like everyone else and hence lose your real identity in the process. I think that is a huge mistake to buy into that falsehood and I'm proud to be Irish and understand how that plays into who I am and why I'm like I am. We can't go through life in a bubble or only surround ourselves with like people and expect to thrive. But that doesn't mean that I have to pretend to be of another culture to prosper. I accept who I  am and surround myself with those who embrace those same core values and also stay true to who they are as well. One only has to look around to see life can be full of illusion and false values but to remain true to who you are as a person will lead to happiness and fulfillment. I'm therefore happy to be Irish and have the core values I have developed over the years. That is just who I am....and I plan to stay true to myself. Chasing after false identities takes a person away from what and who they are. Character can't be bought and has to be earned and learned and your heritage plays heavily into that if you but embrace it.    

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