Posted by: Abe's Blog | March 30, 2010

Let my Yes be Yes; Let my No be No; Seeking the Path of the Better Man

In this life, this passing life, I want to leave my mark. I see the fleetness of time and can feel the approach of my mortality ever swifter. While once I dwelt upon the minutia of the moment, I now ponder the bigger picture–wiser in my station, perched halfway between the cradle and the grave. And yet I know that I will grow in wisdom still; when finally my grizzled head shall lie back to rest at last, I know that I will see the world through wiser eyes. I pray that my memories are filled with laughter and triumph and truth and pride–that the balance when weighed will tip more to the side of the blessed and less to the side of blunder.

I seek to be the better man.

I seek not to be better than thou, but better than me. What else do I have? When all is stripped away, and I stand before the Judge, will I be compared to you or to him or to her? No. The measure of me will be an examination of my choices and a expose’ of my character. Did I make mistakes and cause pain? Of course I have and I will. I am human, after all. But how did I handle my mistakes? Did I learn and move forward, not repeating the same? Or did I return as a dog to his vomit; an addict to her drug?

Seeking this path has brought me confusion. I am learning as I go, picking myself up when I fall. And stumble I do. I have learned in the hardest way that being the better man does not mean being the “nice” guy. Do you hear me, oh friend? Compassion and kindness are virtues for sure–but both can be curses if not tempered with an understanding that sometimes what is needed is strength and resolve and a healthy dose of “no”. I have learned that the better man is the man who sometimes will stand up and say the Thing that is awkward or painful but true. The better man does not enable unhealthy or wrong behavior, causing him to become unpopular at times.

There is so much to say on this subject and I have so much farther to go. This journey will end only when I draw my last breath, which I hope will be many happy years from now. Yesterday I heard reference to this phrase, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.” Many of you know where this originates from. To me, this statement means that we should say what we mean without adding our excuses. It is also about saying “yes” or “no” when we mean completely the opposite. If yes is the answer, then yes it is. If we must say “no”, even though it is uncomfortable, there is no need to explain further or to justify our answer. I want to be known as a man of my word. If I say that I will do something, it should be known that it will be done. And if I say “no”, then that is okay. I have found that there are times when I should have said “no”, and could have avoided future problems by doing so. I am working on myself in this regard.

Perhaps I will write more on the subject of this Path. There is much more to learn. But at the moment, I am being detoured by the snapping jaws of a biting puppy, coupled with the hollering yells of a rowdy boy, running through the house in his mothers high heels. Or…is this really a detour?

 By wisdom a house is built,
       and through understanding it is established



  1. Man I *loved* this post of yours!

    The paragraph beginning with “Seeking this path has brought me confusion” – that entire paragraph can be the seed of a blog all in itself. You’ve said so much there.

    • Thanks, Doug. I originally posted this on Myspace back in November, but was looking through some of those old posts and this one jumped out at me. I wanted to remind myself. I wrote it during a time when I needed to give myself some affirmation that I was doing the right thing, and the paragraph you pointed out was and is the heart of the matter!

  2. I remember this blog and loved it even more this time around. It really speaks volumes & it’s great to reflect too. In retrospect, how do you feel about it today?

    • It is interesting–I had forgotten about how the events that drove the writing of this blog had helped me to shape my character. And it was good to go back and read it again and see what I was thinking and…I still feel the same way!

  3. Another really moving blog. I have to say… I really like your writing style, especially in its versatility. This obviously came from the heart, a heart that’s seen its share of pain. Karma has a way of teaching lessons, some of us simply refuse to learn any other way. But then true wisdom is gained through the experiences that make us who we are. And as far as I’m concerned, I think you’re a really great guy. A man I can actually say, honestly, I can respect and even admire. It wasn’t always that way but I’m glad it is again, and just for the record… that’s HUGE.

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