A rambling thought about Integrity

Barbara De Angelis:

Living with integrity means:

  • Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships.
  • Asking for what you want and need from others.
  • Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension.
  • Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values.
  • Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.

My view of integrity is not unlike the above quote. Determine what is right, and stick to it with your opinions and actions. Now, obviously the right thing for some is different than the right thing for others. But at the end of the day one has to look in the mirror and be content with what looks back at them. We all know in our hearts what is correct and what isn’t, and what we need to do to build on the greater good instead of destroying it. The bad part about this somewhat unsophisticated view is that who decides what is the greater good?

On the highest level, this is the whole reason why Muslims, Jews and Christians will always kick the shit out of each other. They all believe they’re fighting for their rights and with strong integrity, and they’re all correct. Matter of fact I don’t believe any of their fundamental doctrines are really that far away from each other; just far enough to cause arguments. Which over the last couple thousand years have become very very large arguments. To me, the greater good here would be to let everyone live by their own beliefs, and agree to disagree. Of course fundamentalists everywhere on all sides are biting their teeth over me saying this. They all seem to believe that “you’re either with me or your my enemy”. Which, in my mind, definitely does NOT serve the greater good. Unless the greater good is population control in the middle east.

Shrinking down to a national level, the people who run the republic to the south believe that the greater good is served by continuing the misuse of nonrenewable resources, and controlling those resources. Who cares if they have to create false emergencies that force the sending of several thousand of our young men and women to their deaths…at the end of the day they will control utterly important resources. And that is the greater good. I have no doubt that the people controlling that situation fully believe they are doing so with the highest level of integrity. We have similar issues up here; our government firmly believes it serves the greater good to seek out and end the dominance of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Even if it means fighting a war in a land that’s never lost a war on it’s own soil. The mighty bear even failed after ten plus years there. But Harper and his crew are doing it with the utmost integrity.

These “war” issues are difficult ones to me. I don’t disagree that the Taliban are bad apples and must be dealt with. But I also don’t like to think of our soldiers, who are known worldwide as peacekeepers first, are dying fighting a war that most of us don’t really understand. Likewise for the US in Iraq; although I personally think they’re completely out to lunch on this war, it’s a difficult decision and somebody or a group of somebody’s made that decision and are sticking to it. It’s ugly in both cases; if your brother, sister, father, uncle, neighbour down the street dies, this “greater good” idea is no longer valid to you. It has become personal. Now the greater good doesn’t matter, because it’s no longer good. It’s negatively affected you which is bad. Especially if (like myself) you believe there are other solutions than running in with guns blazing and dick swinging. These wars may be necessary on some scale, but it’s hard to see how this is so through a veil of tears.
Next level, big business. If you’re the guy who gets the pink slip, it’s hard to see the greater good in mass layoffs. But the CEO of the company doing so is making this decision with integrity and to save either the company or the shareholders. Your mortgage doesn’t matter compared to 10,000 other employees and a billion dollars worth of shareholders money. But it’s hard to see that. I’ve been there. Who’s correct? Well, both parties are.

Spiral down to me. I’ve let my personal integrity slip a bit the past several weeks, not taking a stand for my beliefs and even going so far as to cover them a bit in order to gain…something, I don’t even know what. My integrity and honesty have always been my strong points, and when I let those slip I start to get a little light on selling features. So it’s probably not good to let them slip. What happens when we drop our personal integrity is we begin to fill up with self loathing and distress, and it affects our abilities to properly function. It’s hard to live a lie, or at least a half truth, and this kind of self denial begins to eat your soul from the inside. Me personally I start to get cranky and it manifests itself in this dank, tomblike depression that I can’t seem to find relief from. Until I look inward and address the issues at hand. I guess it’s time to stop conveniently sidestepping certain issues in my personal life (heck I did that for a time period measured in years in my last relationship…probably not a repeat worthy pattern). In my professional life there should be less “reacting” and more “proacting”. If a commitment is missed I will expect ownership to be taken, and the issue addressed, and I will do the same when I fuck up. This is who I normally am, and I need to get back to that; the past 4-6 weeks has not included alot of addressing things head on. Everything goes better when you keep your integrity level high. Personal life, social life, business success, all of it. If people don’t like it, too bad, cuz (as I said earlier)at the end of the day one needs to be able to look in the mirror and be content with what looks back at them.

Maybe in the spirit of Christmas (or “The Holidays” if you’d rather) we can all try and regain any lost integrity and it’s partner Honesty, and give society a bit more of our true selves as a gift.

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