Integrity

The following post is dedicated to my friend Carolyn Zagami who has been a driving force in keeping me writing…even when I haven’t been writing for the public eye for 165 days! She recently lost one of her loves, Brookie, and my heart is with her as she goes through this loss.

Picture me with my daughter in the car at the McDonald’s drive through. Got it? Now picture that I have just ordered and have driven almost around the corner of the building, but not fully because the line is there. Now picture this: The woman behind me waving with her hands and telling me to move up. I think, “Is she serious? Where the hell does she want me to go?” So I turn out of my window and say, “The line is here and I can’t move any further.” The next part is where it gets amazing. She does something I am afraid too many people (myself included) aren’t doing these days. She listens, and then… she hears me….and then she says out of her window, ” I am sorry. I didn’t realize.” And then something amazing happens to me. My feeling of annoyance with her totally dissipates and I am left with a feeling of understanding that she could only see it from her perspective. However, had she refused to listen to me out of her own annoyance, ego, or anger, she would have never seen my perspective. I couldn’t go anywhere because I was in a line. She couldn’t see it from where she was. You get it, right?
So now picture this. I do something that angers somebody. I am sorry that it angers them and that is not my intention, but I cannot tell them the reason I have done it. If I do, they will be hurt and other people involved will be hurt. I would rather them angry at me than hurt. Hurting people is not part of who I am. I can’t explain myself to them. For the rest of whatever short-lived relationship I have with this person (who hardly knows me) they will think I am a selfish asshole and I have to live with it. Its okay. Its worth it not to hurt them and others. Its not important who and its not important what. It is nobody reading this post.
How many times in your life have you thought someone was being a selfish asshole? Or rude? Or blowing you off? And have you ever wondered what their reasons might be? I am trying to remember these days that I only have my perspective and it is narrow, at best when trying to see the view from where someone else is sitting.
I am always striving to have the utmost Integrity. It gets really hard when having integrity means someone doesn’t like you. And yet, and yet…I have lived 42 years shaping the values that are mine. I own them. I will continue to polish them. I fear what others think of me, but not nearly as much as I fear what I think of myself. Maybe I am almost a grown up now. Be Strong. Fight the good fight. Live with Integrity.

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
― Frederick Douglass