I’ve been thinking about integrity – the line we each have within us that we don’t want to cross. It’s a line that marks who we are; our honourability in a world that often feels increasingly dishonourable.
There will be times for all of us when we will be tempted to breach our line of integrity. Some of us will do so – we will cross the line, feel the discord within ourselves and quickly reverse our path. Others will cross the line and keep going because they feel it is too difficult to turn back.
It is your ability to understand where your integrity line is, and adhere to it, that is a sign of your courage and fortitude. Sticking to this line is difficult in a world where you’re told you must conform, you must keep the peace and you must keep other people happy.
When you cross your integrity line to appease others, you are compromising yourself and often the well-being of others. We only have to scan the global horizon right now to see how a lack of integrity by some, is compromising the health of many and leading to the death of others. Terrible things happen while good people do nothing.
Integrity doesn’t mean taking the easy or most expedient path. It doesn’t mean acting from a place of fear or anger. It means having character, being honest about your own actions and motivations, and then acting in accordance with what you know in your gut is right.
Integrity. I can’t help but think we need more of it. What do you think?
A few months ago, I felt very disheartened by some of the policies and events in our country. It seemed like every time I opened a news website, there was another story about how we seemed to have lost our hearts in how we treated other human beings.
For example, I would hear rhetoric coming from the mouths of our politicians and some media commentators about refugees (i.e. people who need our help) and I would feel depressed and disgusted by their lack of humanity. Even more disturbing was an overwhelming feeling there was no way to change the situation. I knew many other people who felt as I did, yet we all to a large extent felt powerless to make a difference.
But since then I feel like there’s been a shift and a movement in our community is beginning to gain traction. People with a public profile are speaking up, not just once, but repeatedly about how the situation is unacceptable. They are no longer willing to provide obedient silence and tacit consent for what is being done in our name. They are saying no more. Media commentators, religious figures, doctors and others are speaking up. They are willing to stick their heads above the parapet regardless of the consequences because they know they must do what’s right.
It’s an inspiration and many ordinary people, people like you and me, are adding our voices. We are not going to let the issue die.
For some reason I also feel like people are saying, enough is enough, when it comes to many other forms of inequality and not doing the ‘right thing’ in our country. You just have to look at the Adam Goodes discussion being played out across the social and traditional media channels today to know that people are ready to have their voices heard. No more treating people like crap just because that’s the way it’s always been done. No more pretending that racism doesn’t exist here. No more pretending that we don’t all have a role to play in saying, no more.
When I hear people speaking up for others and saying, ‘Hey, that’s not the right way to treat another human being,’ I feel so very proud and grateful to live in this country. It gives me hope that we are on the right track and we can make a difference. We can all make this a stronger, more inclusive and heart-focused place to be.
So today, instead of feeling disheartened, I feel joyful and hopeful and proud. And they are awesome feelings to have.