A person of integrity should never have to lie about anything. While certain statements, ideas, or actions may not have the approval of others, as long as honesty is the first priority, integrity is at work. If someone feels that they have to lie about something, then there was something wrong with that initial act. However, everyone makes mistakes, and apologizing after the fact can also demonstrate integrity. Hiding, or denying a wrongdoing leads to greater consequences down the road. One lie leads to another and so on and so on.

Recently, a "friend" of mine came to discuss one of hey wrongdoings. She admintted to an act of infedelity. At the time, the unfaithful act "felt" right in the heat of the moment, and this was the defense she used to validate her behavior. The need to confess to someone and make excuses led me to believe that she felt internally guilty. She further defended herself by assuming that if her partner didn't find out, no harm was done. My friend was only lieing to herself. The necessity to find a rationale for her actions only firther supported my suggestion to confess to the person she was hurting by engaging in her wrongdoing. Withholding information is not the same as lieing per se, but can have similar consequences. I advised this friend to come clean with her partner. Harboring her guilt could just lead to further complications in the relationship. Being honest with herself and honest with her partner would demonstrate integrity as a person by admitting to a mistake. While integrity can take on differnt meanings, I believe a person's integrity does not mean their perfection, but rather, their effort to "do the right thing". Granted, nothing could be said further or admitted to her partner, and everything could work out fine, but is it worth the risk of having the truth come out later? This is certainly no easy feat to admit to her actions, so much so that the words, "I can't" quickly spewed from her mouth when I shared my thoughts on the steps she should now take..

In this situation, there were no "can't" options. I told her, "you CAN keep quiet and fester with guilt", or "you CAN admit to your wrongdoing and face up to the consequences". There was no can't scenario.  She ultimately decided she CAN find alternatives and sought mediation counseling to discuss the issue with her partner.

Never saying can't when it comes to personal endeavors may be easier than making the effort to push forward and say CAN when your actions involve another person.

Have you or someone you know been in a situation where it seemed easier to say "Can't" because you did not want to face up to a mistake? I'd love to hear how you overcame a can't attitude and dealt with the issue.

06/14/2011 14:42

I really like when you say: a person's integrity does not mean their perfection, but rather, their effort to "do the right thing". I think that it is important for people to understand that in life because it is going to help them along the way when they do make a mistake and instead of hating themselves forever they will focus on making it right.


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