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Relationships Require Perspective and Improvement
By Baruti KMT
Sunday, 31 December 2006 - 12:00 PM


If you are angered by a misdeed, then lean toward a man on account of his rightness. Pass over the misdeed and don't remember it, since the Creator was silent to you on the first day of your misdeed.

-Ptah Hotep c.2400 BCE

The above axiom comes from the oldest known and "complete" book in the world. The title of the book is The Teachings of Ptah Hotep: The Oldest Book in the World. This small, yet powerful, book of only fifty-three pages contains thirty-seven axioms that can provide the reader with a great deal of knowledge as it relates to the affairs of humankind-- knowledge which can be turned into wisdom if the reader allows the teachings to take root.

In our interactions with one another, today's lessons are tomorrow's teachers. As we seek to better know ourselves, we can learn a great deal from others. By examining the lives of others without judging, we can begin to exhibit growth and maturity in our respective lives.

Often times, it is very difficult to see the good in a person when we have suffered a misdeed at their hands. Yet, if the opportunity were taken to examine the incident without placing bounds on it, perhaps we could place ourselves in their Timberlands and be given a fresh perspective on the "misdeed."

As the teaching suggests, how many times have you engaged in a misdeed of which only you and the person experiencing it are aware? More than on one occasion to be certain. Yet, when we experience such instances, we are all too ready to chastise the person for what has been done to us. Yet if we were to be honest with ourselves, we would realize that we too have done such things. Often with a great deal of remorse.

If we could realize and accept that no one is perfect, nor will they ever be, humankind can begin to create more harmonious relationships. It is in accepting someone for their good qualities, while assisting them and ourselves on balancing our weak points, that we gain the greatest level of respect and admiration.

Given our imperfections, this does not absolve us from the responsibility of improving ourselves. Improving upon the characteristics that the Creator has given us should be the goal of all. However, if those of us who need the improvement go through this phase of life not looking within, that which is within has the uncanny ability to place our weaknesses out in front for all the world to see. Often times, much to our chagrin.

Recognizing that progress has never been made without first having a model by which to compare the results, perhaps we as humankind need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our prior encounters to improve our interactions with one another. Present company included. Peace.

Column originally published in Signal (Georgia State University's student newspaper) 11 February 1997



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