Personal integrity reaches its height in the absence of pretense. The truly decent character has searched his/her heart, knows it well, and strives to keep it pure. This takes a great deal of persistent mindfulness.
From a spiritual perspective, character is less about heeding the moral rules and more about our relationship with that undefinable something bigger. It’s about standing in awe of the gift we’ve been given. And it’s appreciating our inherent indebtedness. That’s what inspires gratitude.
To be of sincere heart, one must first be of humble heart. And to be of humble heart is to stand in awe of a much greater reality.
Preserving freedom is our most noble cause. But it demands sacrifice. And the noblest sacrifice next to giving one’s life is living it with real integrity. Character matters. Perhaps today more than ever.
Fair fighting is fighting with principle. It’s strong advocacy tempered with care and concern. When we fight fairly, with principle, and with care not to needlessly injure, we build instead of destroy.
Fighting dirty is fighting without principle-guided limits and boundaries. It’s placing winning over everything and using whatever tactics or psychological “weapons” you can think of to secure the dominant position. Such fighting is the destroyer of relationships.
Assertiveness is fair, principled, disciplined, fighting. And it’s the kind of just self-advocacy coupled with mindful concern for the impact on others that defines healthy character.
Disturbed characters know how to spot the conscientious. And they’re eager to exploit and abuse them. Sadly, sometimes overly conscientious folks delude themselves. They think they can “fix” the morally broken among us – those with impaired or absent consciences.
Letting our appetites, aversions, and impulses drive us costs us plenty. We can feel pretty good in moments. But low points inevitably follow. In the process of riding that roller coaster, our soul begins to die. Mindfulness is key to purposeful living. At any given moment we have a choice. We can allow baser inclinations to rule. Or, we can put ourselves squarely at the service of a higher cause. Fully and freely turning ourselves over to something bigger is liberating. Free from the slavery of what usually drives us, we begin to live purposefully and abundantly.
Unconscious denial is nature’s defense against unbearable pain. But some denial is tactical – a way to be irresponsible while not looking so bad. To have reverence for the truth and for human dignity, each type must be confronted differently.