Well, the title says it all. Integrity. That is what this article is about.
Many will ask why I’m writing about something so basic. Well, it’s simple really, while the concept of living up to one’s self is a very basic one, there are not many who can actually do it.
Why? Probably because most people are worried about what others will think about them. For instance, not saying when you break a dish at someone else’s house is an example of this. Most people wouldn’t say anything because they are afraid of how they will be perceived by the person who owns the plate. They may be seen as a klutz or as someone who wantonly destroys other people’s possessions. That is not a true perception, but, to my mind, that is probably what they are afraid of being perceived as.
So they break the dish, hide the pieces and then go on with the night. All to save themselves a little embarrassment.
The problem with doing this is that they never stop to consider what happens next. When the person who owns the plate does when they find it. Does that person cry, scream, sigh in resignation or what? Will they think less about someone who stands up and says “I did it” or will they think less of someone who hides it? Will that make this person more inclined to treat other’s possessions casually since theirs were treated in such a cavalier manner?
Those questions can ultimately only be answered by the integrity of the person it was done to.
But I would like to point this out: Many have said in various places that part of what we are here to do is to help others. We help others by giving money or assistance when needed and we will not be irreparably harmed in the process, by assisting others in myriad little ways and by being available to talk when they are down.
If this premise is true, then isn’t it incumbent upon us to also be a good example for them? To live the highest ideals of who we are and show them through our actions that we are good people?
I feel somewhat hypocritical here, but I’m going to lecture on this anyhow. I have to admit that I don’t always live up to this standard myself. There are many times each day that I find myself compromising that which I believe in order to exist. But here’s the point; personal integrity comes from choosing NOT to compromise those beliefs as often as possible.
In recent times, I had a choice to make. I was the moderator of a local community list. I was recently appointed to that position by the owners and I made a determination to do the best job I could. Now, 99% of moderating a list like that is to not do anything. But when trouble rears its head, you must be ready to prevent it.
Well, sure enough, my second week of being a moderator, trouble came along. I won’t give all the details here, but ultimately what happened was I spotted this person as a troll, and said so. This person had publicly attacked and insulted several long time members of the community and I put her on warning. I told her that I would be looking at the posts she had put up and would determine if any other measures would need to be taken.
The other moderators thought I was being overly critical and mean. But the point of my being there as a moderator was because I have done this job before. It was my JOB to spot these kinds of problems and prevent them. I said so. Other moderators criticized me about how I worded my email to her putting her on warning and how I didn’t have the authority to speak for them all. Ignoring the fact that I was not speaking for all of them, I was warning her as me, and would take up any discipline with all the moderators.
Finally it came down to me against the rest of the moderators. I was standing by my assessment of this person being a troll, the rest were either not speaking up or they were vehement that this person was not a troll and that I was in the wrong.
My choice came to this, swallow my pride and give in and apologize to this person, thus encouraging her if she was a troll, or throw a temper fit. I chose to resign as my position as a moderator. I didn’t want to, I wanted to keep that position. Heck, I’m human, I like power. But I resigned because I couldn’t support the majority decision of her not being a troll and the decision not to moderate her or to let her post as she would. I couldn’t support it and I would not be in a group saying, by my silence, that I would. I certainly wouldn’t have spoken up and said that I didn’t agree with that decision.
The strength of any group like that is the full support of all the members. Therefore I left. I plead lack of time to do my job there, and in most cases it was true. I don’t have a lot of time to give to various projects. But that was not the motivating factor.
But I had to stand by what I believe in and what I had seen. And instead of bringing disharmony to the group that should speak with one voice, I withdrew. In good conscience I couldn’t do anything else.
This is what I speak of when I talk about Integrity. Do you really think that all those who died in the Revolutionary War wanted to die? Or any war for that matter. There are times when someone stands up and says “this is how far you are coming and no further”. All those poor people in France who had to rebel and who suffered because of it. The women who slept with the Nazi officers to get information and to keep little girls in the streets from being raped, who where then tortured and spurned by the very people they were trying to protect, don’t you think they would have rather it not happened? Or the Dali Lama, whose country was taken over by the Chinese and he was driven into exile, do you think he would have wanted that if he had been offered that as a small child? Here he is, an old man, who has not spent much time at all in his native country because he’s under a death sentence. And I’m sure he could go home if he would disguise himself or support the Chinese government, but his personal integrity says that he will not hide who he is and he will not support by word or deed that which he finds reprehensible.
How about Martin Luther? Not Martin Luther King Jr., minister and Civil Rights leader, but Martin Luther, priest and leader of the Protestant Reformation. Don’t you think it took a special kind of courage to stand up and say “This is wrong” during a time when all hands would be turned against him? And it wouldn’t have been JUST the Catholic Priest’s persecution either, it would have been the secular authority as well since the two were so intertwined in Italy that they couldn’t be separated. So under excommunication from the Catholic authorities and probably going to be arrested by the governments of various countries if he were caught on trumped up charges. I know excommunication doesn’t bother many people, but for the time being told by the head of Christianity on the planet (for the Catholics were the only game in town) that you are going to be denied the presence of God forever is terrifying.
To change sexes for a moment, what about Rosa Parks, the lady who wouldn’t sit in the back of the bus? Or Susan B. Anthony and the other ladies who said it was wrong for a woman to be denied the right to vote? Do you think they wanted the death threats that came along with their stand for what was right? Do you think they wanted their families threatened?
But each of these people above had integrity to stand up for what they believed in. They looked at what was around them and they said that nothing could be worse than what they were being asked to give up. Their dignity and their integrity.
I can’t say that you don’t do this, becuase you probably do. Everyone on the planet has a point past which they will not be pushed. It comes down to finding that point and taking a stand there.
And don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s only huge world changing events that are events full of integrity, they aren’t the only ones. There are multiple choices each day that we make which show our integrity or lack of it. Standing up to a boss who wants us to do something illegal. Not taking the waitress’ tip off the table. Giving money to a friend who needs it, simply because they need it.
I was recently told that I have a lot of courage to stand up for what I believe in and to call a spade a spade and an idiot an idiot. I guess it looks that way to others, but really I can’t do anything else and be honest with myself.
I guess it comes down to “will I be able to look at myself in the mirror tomorrow morning”. I have integrity because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have any respect for myself. I would not want to be associated with anyone who had flexible morals, and I wouldn’t want to be me if I didn’t stand up for what I believe.
It’s always been that way.
What distresses me is that more and more I see people, the majority of people, who have those flexible morals, ones who say it’s alright to kill someone in a prison without the benefit of a trial simply because they were arrested but that’s it’s wrong to kill a cat who has attacked people. Their moral fiber seems to be up for sale and whomever has the best spin doctors seems to get it today. If life is sacred (the cat) then ALL life is sacred (the prisoner). Stand up for that. Don’t compromise that basic belief and I will call you “brother” even though I don’t agree with it.
Christians (for example) who own businesses who are so pious on Sunday and so ruthless to everyone including their employees have no integrity, no honor, no worth in my book. That same statement goes for EVERY person breathing on this planet.
If you profess to believe something, then go the extra miles to demonstrate that, not in pious displays, but by doing what you say you do. Give to charity if you say you are a generous person. Help the sick if that is what your beliefs demand, but don’t say that you are one thing and then do another. That’s what hypocrites do.
Think about those that you respect and honor in your life. Do they have integrity? Do they set an example for others to follow? Do they demand from themselves the highest of the ideals they say they hold? I’ll lay a bet that they do.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s an easy path to follow. It’s not. It is a very hard and long and lonely road, one where you make many enemies and very few friends. But those friends you make will be the ones who will stick by you for long periods of time through massive upheavals in your life, not just fair weather friends.
And you have to resign yourself to losing people you thought were your friends. Lots of people say that they hold X belief to be sacred, but they don’t treat it that way. When push comes to shove, generally they find a lifestyle that is less demanding on them.
For this is a critical point, living with integrity is a lot of hard work. In this society of compromise, politics, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” a person who is living with integrity will be asked multiple times a day to compromise that integrity. Situations will be presented that make them want to give it all up, simply because it’s easier. But to truly live with integrity means that you can’t compromise on those core beliefs.
This is another critical point, it is possible to have integrity and still be political and smooth in your relations with others. It’s those core beliefs that you can not compromise on. The rest, well, if it doesn’t harm you to say that white is a better color for a kitchen than brown is, then you compromise on that point and move on. But if the motif of charity and service you wanted to incorporate is important to you and necessary to you, then don’t compromise on that, but still be reasonable. It doesn’t have to take up the entire wall, a section of it or a border would be fine. So it is still possible to get what you want and still live in this society.
The main thing this article is attempting to do is to instill in you a sense of wanting to have integrity. There are many many people these days who have no integrity and who wouldn’t know it if it hit them in the face with a clue-by-four. These kinds of people are a major problem, for they tend to say whatever they need to to be the friend of whomever they talk to. And at that point they normally get elected into a political office, where things start messing up.
Having a personal point where you will not compromise your core beliefs is a critical thing, since it will show you just who you are and what you are willing to do. If you have not done so, please sit down and figure out where those points are.
Originally posted 2015-07-31 18:47:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter