“Is it beneficial to all concerned?” is the last principle of the Rotary four-way test. Over the course of my fight with the Dragon PTSD there were many times when stopping to consider how my actions would impact those important to me stopped me from doing very negative things.
Between thought and action there is a space and that is the space where we have to ask the questions, is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned? It doesn’t take long to get in the habit of asking these very important questions before we act. For me it’s fingering my challenge coin that I carry in my pocket. On the front I have my motto, “Others not Self” and on the back of it I have the four-way test. Just putting my fingers on the coin reminds me that what I think, say and do is important.
Others Not Self
Is it beneficial to all concerned? Is a question that we need to ask ourselves each time we consider doing something that may damage those around us. Receiving the Medal of Honor placed me in a position where I must consider how my actions reflect on the Medal and all that it represents. Being a husband and father makes me consider how my actions impact my children and my wife, Susan. Also, I/we have a duty to those that never came home to live the lives that they were denied. I believe I/we have a duty to honor their sacrifice by how we live our lives.
In the early 90s after going through some intensive therapy I learned that the more I concentrated on the needs of others better I felt. I didn’t quite know how to put that into words. But I saw by my actions, especially during my parent’s terminal illnesses that the more I concentrated on them the better I was able to fight the Dragon PTSD. Simply, I was too busy doing my best for them to think about me. Coming to the realization of “Others not Self” started me on the path to recovering. I often slip and fall off the path but the more I fight the less I fall.
In 2002 I led a small group at my church on the book, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. After we completed the study I wrote in the cover page of my book
“God’s purpose for your life is greater than the problems you’re going through!”
I found that if I have a mission, something that gets me up in the morning my problems shrink. The reason I stay involved in veteran affairs is because being in a position where I think about my issues and only my issues is unhealthy. Being involved in something bigger than myself keeps me focused on helping others and keeps my attention off myself.
Sgt. Allen Lynch
Allen Lynch is a former United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.Support is Available. Stay Connected.