On the opposite end of the spectrum are the grace giving martyrs who place
universal love and devotion before personal well-being, giving forgiveness before understanding, all in the name of some supreme being. “We”becomes more valuable than “I” and quite often “I” is unable to survive by itself. However, it is a lot easier to place a codependent personality in the hands of mindless theology, where one is not responsible for facing any form of direct confrontation. “I forgive you so I don’t have to hold you accountable and while I give you mercy, I am at your mercy). Whenever I think of this dynamic I picture a small, frail person in a row boat, facing a storm but rather than row as fast as possible out of danger, he or she drops the oars to pray for safety.
Then there are those who have spent many of hours on a couch, and can recite psychological scripture forbade. Freud
unlocks the mysteries to one’s manipulative, unhealthy actions, and links the inner drive to childhood experiences. Somehow, an action occurring in the present doesn’t have to be owned, if a parent, teacher, or sibling bought it decades ago. Although psychology helps us understand the hows and whys of our own personal development, ownership for those actions must take place somewhere to complete the learning model. What we learn in a counseling session can teach us about ourselves, how we work and communicate with others, but those lesson are never an excuse for the patterns we are responsible for breaking now.
I believe that the reason personal integrity is so difficult to achieve is that it is the very phrase that holds us accountable for our own actions. How many times do we take ownership for our words, and actions? How many times do we truly feel like we have control over our feelings, emotions, thoughts and life? We as humans seek control every day in our relationships, during work, while driving, in phone conversations and yet the last person we try to control our ourselves. Ironically, if we were able to take responsibility for ourselves, our lives would almost instantly fall into place.
I would like to end this article with an excerpt from the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. It gives an outline of the steps needed in order to better personal integrity and in turn, better oneself.
- Right View-Enhance one’s mind, explore ones world, gain wisdom
- Right Intention- means resistance to the pull of desire, resistance to feelings of anger and aversion not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion
- Right Speech-not to tell deliberate lies, abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth, speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary
- Right Action-Take responsibility for one’s actions, refrain from committing wrongdoings
- Right Livelihood- Choose a profession that supports one’s spiritual path, choose a noble profession
- Right Effort-Mental energy is the force behind right effort. The same type of energy that fuels, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Make the effort to choose the latter.
- Right Mindfulness-Get control of ones emotions. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness
- Right Concentration- Controlling one’s own life through meditation and positive mindset.
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