Thebeloved_conscienceIs Your Conscience Your Best Friend?
(The Daily Prompt – July 26, 2013)
By Joseph E Rathjen
July 27, 2013

A few days ago my five-year-old granddaughter tucked at my pant’s leg then asked me, “Grandpa, who’s your best friend?” I thought about that question for a moment, then looked down at her and smiled then said, “My conscience.” I do not know why that answer came out of my mouth so fast, but it startled me and appeared to startle her as well. She just stood there with a perplexed look on her face then asked me, “Grandpa, is it a boy or a girl?” It was one of those rare moments that suspends all time and is so precious that you have to take a step back to absorb it all.

I’ve never thought of my conscience as being either a boy or a girl. I guess I had always assumed that since I am a boy, that my conscience would be a boy also or should I say a man? A man conscience sounds more befitting considering the fact that I am a man, and it also sounds a bit more macho.

But then, I started to think about something else. A few days ago the publisher at the woman’s magazine I write for (WomanScope NewsMagazine) sent me a Testimonial to put on my writer’s website. She wrote in the Testimonial:

As a male writer for a women’s magazine, Joseph has the amazing ability to connect to what I refer to as his “inner female” voice when presenting issues and matters (some of them hot-button and controversial) to our mostly female readership; in a way that is both sensitive and engaging.”

Now wait a second…did she say “inner female voice?” I know that I have a writer’s voice lurking around in my mind somewhere, but I never imagined it as being a female voice. So what about my conscience, could that be a female too? Between what my granddaughter asked me about my conscience and what my publisher wrote I was beginning to feel a little anxiety setting in. It’s not that I’m afraid that there’s a woman or the voice and conscience of a woman stalking around inside of me, it’s just that the possibility of it existing seems totally bizarre.

However, not to get off the main topic, I ran to my iPhone and tapped on my dictionary app to lookup the definition of the word conscience. I knew what it meant, but I was just curious to see if there was something in those definitions that included any references to your conscience as being your best friend.

Sadly, there wasn’t. There was a lot of other stuff about it being your “moral compass” and being your inner judge, and then there was a few, rather unconventional definitions from “The Urban Dictionary” which I won’t repeat here. But no, there was nothing at all about your conscience being your best friend.

So where did that leave me? I sat there for a while and contemplated whether I should frustrate myself over it. The more I thought about it, however, I realized that looking at my conscience as my best friend may not really be a smart move. Best friends are for confiding in things and telling your secrets and anxieties to. They are also for having someone to pity you and feel sorry for you and sometimes make things easier for you and give you the support and understanding you need.

But that’s not what a conscience is for. A conscience is something that you can’t ignore or ask for advice. It is not something that you can put on the shelf or come back to later. It is usually unforgiving, relentless and once it grabs hold it never lets go. It’s not something that you can kick to the curb for the meantime. You know how that old saying goes, “Don’t let your conscience bother you?” Sure, try that little maneuver and see how long it lasts.

A conscience is something that you have to listen to. Whether you consider it your best friend or not, doesn’t matter, as long as you understand that it is the most pure, most honest and most definitive explanation of who you really are deep down inside. Don’t ignore it; if you do, it could be the cause of losing a real, best friend.

© “Joseph E Rathjen – All Rights Reserved – 2013”
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One thought on “Is Your Conscience Your Best Friend?

  1. Pingback: A friend in need | Nanuschka's Blog

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