Integrity and Self Respect
Iâ€™m a natural bornÂ observer.Â I canâ€™t not be intrigued by my surroundings.Â You can call me a serial people-watcher if you like, but I make no excuses for it.Â Perhaps it ties back into the whole â€œhonest actionâ€ thing that I learn a lot about others and myself by observing how we interact with each other.Â Recently one subject thatâ€™s had a large chunk of my attention is self-respect.
Self-respect is a crucial part of oneâ€™s integrity.Â It determines our standards and boundaries and fortifies our courage to maintainÂ them when faced with a challenge.Â I think self-respect is actually the embodiment of our personal integrity because beyond all other things, how you think about and treat yourself is directly proportionate to how youâ€™ll allow others to think about and treat you.Â â€¦And yes, positive or negative, you do allow what treatment you get from another to fly or not.Â Think Eleanor Roosevelt, â€œNo one can make you feel inferior without your consent.â€
The area this is most obviously observable is in relationships.Â So I guess thatâ€™s where Iâ€™ll ruminate for this post.Â In an ideal (read: healthy, adult) relationship the individualsÂ are balanced and have a firm grasp of their unique give-and-take that make their partnership work.Â Itâ€™s a balance that sometimes feels like two people dancing in their own way to the same song that just works.Â This stems from their own inner self-respect of having known what they wanted, owning their confidence to go for it, and learning from their failures.
Most of the time this isnâ€™t the case.Â (Hello, divorce rate.)Â One gives more than the other seeking validation through their partnerâ€™s appreciation which never comes.Â (Co-dependency.)Â But validation is solely and totally under a personâ€™s own domain.Â You get to decide whether or notÂ you exude confidence and command (not demand, thereâ€™s a difference) respect.Â Being someone who is willing to let others control and define our worlds is a death sentence in relationships, assuming you want a healthy one, because what youâ€™re doing is more or less expecting someone to come in and fill all the voids you feel which is merely a band-aid for a more serious problem underneath that sooner or later will surface and leave you back at square one.Â (Vicious cycles.)
One main thing Iâ€™ve not only noticed personally, but done myself in the past, is excusing behavior.Â This is a two-fold side effect of oneâ€™s inner self.Â At itâ€™s best, it comes from a place of wanting to be non-judgmental and understanding; at itâ€™s worst it is a form of self-delusion that leads down a nasty road.Â The premise is simple, someone does something that isnâ€™t congruent to what you feel is right or hurts you somehow and instead of accepting the situation for what it is and dealing with it from there you try to reconcile the act with myriad hypothetical situations.Â (Abusive relationships are famous for this.)Â The truth of the matter is: youâ€™re not making excuses for them, deep down youâ€™re making excuses for why youâ€™re allowing it.Â And the answer is: because you donâ€™t respect yourself enough to walk away.Â Iâ€™m not talking about minor transgressions, obviously, because all relationships take work on both parties.Â Iâ€™m talking about the major stuff.
Of course it might not always be that theyâ€™re hurting you, directly.Â Maybe theyâ€™re rude to the waitress, maybe they throw around slurs like nobodyâ€™s business.Â Maybe they donâ€™t keep their word or value your time.Â Whatever the case, if someone is going to disrespect someone they donâ€™t even know, you can bet your life that eventually theyâ€™ll do it to you too.
The problem (and how this all ties together) is that like attracts like.Â If you donâ€™t respect yourself and hold your own integrity in high regard, chances are youâ€™re going to keep drawing in similar people to your life.Â Everyone knows someone who seems to roll from one highly-dramatic, emotionally taxing relationship to the next.Â With each failed attempt, the bitterness and cynicism grows because they havenâ€™t taken ample time to pause for a while and examine whatâ€™s going on inside themselves that keeps leading them down the same path.Â It all boils down to integrity.
Being integrious is markedÂ by having a sense of knowing.Â Knowing whatâ€™s right and wrong.Â What one will or wonâ€™t do.Â Knowing when and how to walk away when those standards are becoming compromised.Â The only person standing in your way, as far as this is concerned, is yourself.Â How do you want people to treat you?Â â€¦Well, how do you treat yourself?Â Do you want someone to love you for you as/is and unconditionally?Â â€¦Do you love yourself as/is and unconditionally?Â Because, spoiler alert, until you doâ€¦ no one else will.