In order for a system to self determine by setting standards of operation based on ethics, morals and values, they must be followed and upheld at all times in order to maintain the integrity of the system. If we allow or tolerate less, then the systemâ€™s integrity is compromised and it becomes corrupted to the extent of the allowance. While this is very easy to see in business where we set standards for things like appearances or attire and we give full descriptions of those requirements, then an employee shows up in violation of our standards, and we allow them to go ahead and work anyway, we have just lowered our standard due to a lack of compliance that are now reflected by the new standard set by the violation. What we allow and tolerate is a reflection of the companyâ€™s moral integrity whether they realize it or not.
This same type of dynamic is going on all the time at the personal level. While many fail to even recognize and define what their moral values are, and then consciously act to create the ethical standards they use to live their lives by as a moral code that simultaneously provides a guideline for making decisions of what they will and wonâ€™t allow (of themselves and others), all of which ultimately form the basis for their integrity as a person. Instead, most create an image of themselves that they would like to portray, that is more about complying in order to fit in, be like others, gain friends and associates, overcome insecurity and low self-esteem, or attract clients of some sort. We begin the process of constantly prostituting ourselves by readily negotiating our ethics and morality. Some never form a clear idea around their ethics and standards and so have no real direction or compass in life. They blow in the wind and become subject to whatever influences they surround themselves with.
While we have a sense of what we are doing at a deeper level, we cloud it over with all the evidence we bring into any decision making process that diverts the attention away from the ethical reality in a dark debate of endless compromise. We are able to fool ourselves to a certain extent at the conscious level, but at the subconscious and soul level where the ego doesnâ€™t exist and we experience everything in terms of feelings, emotions, morality and the corresponding images they contain, we are clear on what this type of compromise means about who and what we are. This facilitates feelings of self disappointment, loathing, feelings of betrayal, regret, despise and resentment. The reason more people donâ€™t explore to determine what ethics they hold as standards for modeling their behavior is because they realize that if they state them clearly, and articulate them with reason, theyâ€™ll have to uphold them. What we communicate creates a form of accountability. In upholding them they will have to make conscious decisions as to who to remain in relationship with, and who to dissociate with. They fear they will lose friends and clients and so they never state them or actually uphold them so that when they compromise themselves, no one else will know . . . . however, the problem is, they know. We donâ€™t ever really fool ourselves. We just begin the long process of selling our soul to the highest bidder. We corrupt ourselves because we donâ€™t believe in ourselves and donâ€™t have a sense of clarity around the type of person we choose to be, and so we become the effect of others. We allow associates, friends and society to determine and shape us, because we fail to willfully determine ourselves. No decision is a decision. Compromise violates integrity.
Integrity isnâ€™t about you being able to consistently pull off a public image or master a persona. Itâ€™s about walking your talk. Lead through example. Be the change you desire. Practice what you preach. Teach only what you can demonstrate. Decide who you are, what youâ€™re about, develop your values, morality and ethics for practice, and demonstrate integrity in upholding them. In this, you may not have as many friends or colleagues, but the ones you do have will serve to evolve you to even higher standards of being. And most importantly, when you lay down to rest alone in the dark, left only to yourself, you will be at peace with yourself and experience an inner calm born out of a sense of contentment.
Dr. Linda Gadbois
Spiritual Teacher and Mentor