Sunday, December 17, 2006

Of Honesty and Integrity

As we all try to traverse through this journey called life, we invariably come to crossroads in our path where we have to make decisions. Sometimes these decisions seem small and insignificant, such as “Should I go for the caffeine, or stick with the decaf?” As unimportant as that choice may seem, choosing the caffeine could have serious consequences such as heart palpitations or an inability to fall asleep. However, a decision such as this rarely affects anyone else other than the person making it. It is the larger, more significant choices in life that usually create a ripple effect, the choices that may impinge on other people…and as I age, I find that selfish decision-making, unfortunately, has become an acceptable part of society. It seems as if people are no longer concerned with how other people are going to react to their decisions, as long as they themselves are getting what they want—quite possibly at the expense of someone else’s feelings or even the quality of their life. It also seems that people have forgotten what the word “integrity” means: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standard. Sadly, integrity has become nothing more than a dinosaur facing extinction: an Ice Age of narcissism covering it and leaving nothing behind but the fossilized remains of a more innocent, honest generation gone by.

One public example of this was the recent fiasco involving OJ Simpson, and the release of his book called, “If I Did It”—and the subsequent TV special that was to coincide with this release. When I first heard of this implausible concept, my mouth fell open, and I was certain that this was the end of humanity as we knew it. I couldn’t conceive that any human being with a soul could make a decision to pay this man even one dollar to write a book so repulsive and offensive. Everyone involved with this debacle made unbelievably narcissistic, self-serving decisions—all for the sake of the almighty dollar. Where was the concern for the Brown family? Hadn’t they been through enough? And most importantly…where was this man’s concern for his own children? Irregardless of how he felt about Nicole Brown Simpson, she was their mother. It wasn’t enough that he made a horrific, irreversible decision that ruined his children’s lives years ago…now, because of his lust for money, he decided to rub salt on their wounds as well. I personally signed petitions and wrote to whomever I could to put a stop to this horrifying event—and the thousands of us who made the decision to take the time to voice our opinions about it thankfully won. It made me feel as if all of humanity was not “lost”; that there was still some power in making the “right” choices.

Over the last few years, I have had to deal with certain individuals who have put so much emphasis on power and money, that they have forgotten how to deal with living, breathing human beings. They have no respect for others’ feelings; they trample whomever “gets in their way” with nary a thought or a concern for the outcome of their actions. They honestly don’t care what other people think—as long as they are instantly gratified and feel that they have gotten what they believe that they wanted. They lie, they cheat, they steal…it doesn’t matter, because the only thing that’s important to them is what they think they need at that moment. The sad part about all of this is that these certain individuals are still not happy. They constantly strive for the ultimate prize: the gold ring of endless elation that they believe will only be attained by fulfilling their every desire and whim immediately, if not sooner. They’re on the "Train to Nowhere", thinking that each new station is where they want to get off until they actually get to that destination. At that point, they realize that they’re still not satisfied, so they stay on the train, thinking that the next station is going to be the one that fulfills all their dreams and they can finally attain what they’re searching for. Sadly, these people will probably spend their whole lives on this train. They’re still riding the tracks as I write this. They will always be looking for “something better”, and will never be grateful for what they are blessed with right now. I actually don’t feel anger at these people; I feel pity.

I don’t always make the right decisions, and I’m sure that we all, at one time or another, have greatly regretted some that we’ve made. However, I would like to believe that most of us genuinely care about how our decisions affect those around us—that we would honestly be hurt if a choice we made hurt someone we loved or cared about, or that guilt would overwhelm us if we tried to be dishonest at our place of business. It’s not always easy or convenient to make the decisions that we know are “right”. I truly believe, though, that holding onto our integrity reaps the ultimate reward of self-respect and the trust of others—two of the most important qualities one can possess.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good post Lisa. If we lose our integrity, we lose ourselves. Too bad difficult people don't realize the harm they do by being dishonest.

www.Carine-whatscooking.blogspot.com

Lisa said...

Carine,

How true. I've lost faith in several people with whom I was very close to in the last year because of their lies and deceit. They've gotten so good at lying that I don't even think they know that they're doing it anymore. How sad that they are so unsatisfied with who they are that they have to make up stories about everyone else to make themselves feel better.

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,
I guess the good news is that there are a LOT of people who care about honesty and integrity, thank heavens, and therefore O.J. Simpson could not prevail in his recent nonsense. Wouldn't it be nice if this was the beginning of a new trend?

Hugs,
Betty

Anonymous said...

Hi! Lisa,
When I heard what O.J. was up to, I emailed everyone I knew and begged them not to watch that interview or buy the book...but we don't really have to look very far to find people like him. We all know some selfish, nasty people, and we wonder what in hell makes them tick, it can't be a heart, can it?

And you can't get through life without making some bad decisions.
For instance, my husband who I decided to marry, should have been a one night stand,,,,,,,okay maybe 2 nights,,,but you pay for your mistakes and move on. I too, have let go some people this year that were toxic to my soul. My son was shocked that I let go a friendship of 30 years,,,,but I did. I was tired of giving all the time,,,,,and making excuses for this person...yes, I loved them, but didn't like them. Time to move on. Integrity,,,,,,say what you mean and mean what you say,,and stand your ground. Kids, grandkids, may love you because they do; but they only respect the one's who deserve their respect, and keeping your word and doing the right thing earns it.
The most important thing to me is that I can look at the person in the mirror at night, and I like her. She's good shit!

Lisa said...

Betty,

Oh, I couldn't agree more! A trend of integrity that would allow us to put the "nasties" in their place one by one.

Deep down, I do truly believe that good always prevails over evil--eventually--and I also believe that what goes around comes around. Even if we don't get to see it in this lifetime. ;)

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Matty,

I don't know, some people just seem "soul-less" to me. No concience whatsoever. The main person that I wrote about is actually in jail as we speak, but from what I hear, he's already planning his next moves upon his release in six months. Didn't learn a thing about being human. He manipulated everyone in our family at one point or another, and bilked hundreds of people out of millions of dollars. The things he has done to his (absolutely gorgeous) wife would make your head spin. And the excuses she constantly makes for him would knock it right off your shoulders. Go figure. I'm sure your husband is a saint next to this guy!

I, too, had to give up a few toxic relationships this year as well. Time is getting too precious for me to be wasting it on people who are only out for themselves. My "friend list" has gone down considerably, but I no longer feel that I have to be acquainted with people who drain me. That seemed to have removed an awful lot of people from my list!

Take good care,
Lisa

Kacey said...

Dear Lisa, Morality is something innate in a human being, --- you can't legislate it. The smartest thing we can do is walk away from toxic people without thought of what others might think of us. The relative who has her hubby in the slammer is allowed to believe all the nonsense he hands her and she will never thank you for pointing out his failings. So, get away while you can and wait for her to come to you when she comes running with her hair on fire. You can think "I told you so",--- you just can't say it!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, good post as usual!
I like what Matty and Kacey said...and i agree with it 100%.
all good human qualities are innate in us and it is up to us to let them rule our lives..at times some of us cannot make the right decision.

LZ Blogger said...

I could not AGREE more! I just wanted to wish a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family! ~ jb///

Lisa said...

Kacey,

She's already hitting brick walls right and left. It's so sad...the things she is doing to herself all on account of this man. She's basically throwing her life away. I don't say a word. She was always very high and mighty, and now she's heading towards rock bottom. However, we all know there's only one direction to go from there, and hopefully she will get her act together.

No, she'll never thank anyone for trying to help her out, but you're right--eventually we will ALL be thinking, not saying, "Girl, we told you so!" Some of us are saying it already!

Take good care,
Lisa

Big Dave T said...

Well said, of course. I was heartened to learn that the publisher who came up with this OJ book idea lost his job. And that Fox was forced to cancel its OJ promotion. The world still needs people like you to help set its moral compass.

And to put it in a seasonal perspective, it's amazing how many Scrooge-like characters there are in today's world.

Hea, on a personal note, I did publish my poem on my blog as you suggested I do.

Lisa said...

Summer,

(...let's see if this works, I've been trying to post it for two days!)

When I have trouble making decisions, I always leave it up to God. It took me years to learn how to do that, but it is truly freeing and I somehow gain a better perspective to make my choices in a more informed manner! Kind of a, "Let go, let God" sort of thing!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dave,

You are right, there are a LOT of "Scrooges" out there, especially around this time of year. You know, the last minute crush...everyone's trying to get finished with their shopping, and they're all stressed out and cranky.

I'm really glad you published your poem, and I'm going to pop over to check it out!

Take good care,
Lisa

Anonymous said...

Great post and some excellent points!
I just stumbled in here for the first time. This looks like a very interesting blog you have here. I'll have to read more!