The challenge today is to convince people of the value of truth, honesty, compassion and a concern for others. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
And that is quite the challenge. Many people, too many in my opinion, place themselves and their advantage first. They will lie and walk away from honesty in order to gain an advantage. They will say or do what they think will play on your compassion and concern in order to gain an advantage.
While on one hand, I consider these actions deplorable, I also find them very sad. Sad because these people have been reduced to the point where they believe that the only chance they have in life is to lie, cheat or steal. That can’t be a happy place to live, can it?
And yes, it will be a challenge. These people have developed a belief system which supports these actions, and have become comfortable in using these tactics and methods.
Convincing them that truth is a better path, even if it places you at a disadvantage, that’s going to be a hard sell. It will be no easier with compassion, given to others, rather than taken from others.
Why is integrity important?
At TheFreeDictionary.com, integrity is defined as “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” That’s pretty much what the quote is challenging us to convince others to be, isn’t it? But it’s hard to ask someone to do something we ourselves are unwilling to do, right?
It’s hard to take advice on eating healthy from an overweight person with a burger in one hand and a bag of french fries in the other, right? So if we are to convince others of the value of truth and honesty, it would help if we were living the example of being truthful and honest.
It’s the same with showing compassion and concern for others. If the person you are trying to convince can instantly point out how you don’t do what you are asking of them, you’re going to have trouble winning the argument, right? So first, we need integrity before we can convince others that it is a good thing.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Where would integrity apply in your life? Truth and honesty, where in your life would they be applicable? How about compassion and concern for others? I found that they applied to nearly every aspect of my life, from work to play, from social groups to family interactions.
Even when dealing with strangers, I have found that all four to be of great benefit. Yes, there might be a slightly greater benefit to myself by breaking my integrity, but it would generally be very short lived, and end up costing me more over time.
I imagine we’ve all had that experience. Someone we considered a friend took advantage of us. Somehow, they were dishonest or took advantage of our compassion or concern. They got something out of it, but at the cost of our trust and possibly of our friendship.
With that as an example, does having and demonstrating integrity in your daily life make a little more sense? Take a moment and consider how much you value the truth and honesty, and when you are willing to bend it. Then do the same for compassion and concern.
There are no right or wrong answers. In addition to differences in culture and upbringing, we are all human. As humans, we will, from time to time, mess things up. Even with the best intentions, we will do something at least a little off from perfect integrity.
Also realize that as we change, our definition of integrity may change a little as well. Honesty is all well and good, until your 5 year old daughter asks what those dogs are doing in the yard, or where puppies come from, right? Your answer may not be the perfect truth, but your concern for her may have you fudging the truth just a little.
Think about what you thought of truth, honesty, compassion and concern for others. Did you identify any place where you might improve yourself? Any ideas on how to do that, besides will power? Are there situations which tend to lead you to show less integrity? How can you avoid them?
Once your house is in reasonable order, you can use your life as an example to others. You can talk with a little more authority about the value of having integrity, and how it is of benefit to everyone. But how do you go about doing that? Do you have sufficient tact to pull it off, or can you find someone to assist you in the conversation?
What do you do if you can tell someone is lying? Do you interrupt them, take them aside and urge them to tell the truth, or do you just blurt out that they are lying and say what the truth actually is? It may depend on the situation, but if you think about it now, you will be better prepared should the occasion ever arise.
WHat about compassion and concern? If you saw someone behaving in a manner which was contrary to compassion and concern, how would you address the situation? What would you say? What would you do? How would you stop it, and what would you say to try to convince them of the error in their ways?
There are no easy ways to do these things, which is why it is a challenge. It is less so if you have the conversation before an action, rather than trying to convince them in the middle of an act. But it is important to talk to them at some point in time.