Integrity vs Self

     I define Integrity as “doing the right thing, regardless of the outcome.”  It is not always easy to do that. Often, we are worried about how others might view us or if they will “like” us. With our family, it is often will they “love” us. To make it a clearer choice for myself… I usually think about … if I will like myself if I do not do the right thing!  Then, my path or “choice” becomes clearer.  At the end of the day, the only thing each of us owns free and clear is ourselves; that is both mind and body. Integrity is ours when we do the right thing for others… and ourselves.

     Recently, it was mentioned by one of my own family members that my “choices” many times affect them negatively. That both surprised and saddened me at the same time. We have been going through a period of great change in our immediate lives and it sometimes requires that I focus on my own issues and healing … in additon to theirs.  I had erroneously reasoned that unless I was “healthy” in mind, body, and spirit …I would be of no use to them.  So, in order to do that, I had become “unhealthy” to them.  I didn’t see it that way, but they did. All I knew was I believed in my heart that I was doing “the right thing” for them as well as myself. 

     That’s when the light went on!  Each of us feels tested and challenged, some more so than others by mere personality.  We recover in the best and only way we know how, at the time.  Is it always the best for the other people in our lives?  Maybe not.  However, we do the best that we can with what hand we have been dealt.  While I was busy being proud of myself for my own personal accomplishments of not ‘falling apart’ at this new test in Life …they saw my actions/ words as inappropriate.  While I was trying my best to keep it “all together,” for them more than myself, they saw my actions as negative.

     And then, last night as I was falling asleep…Eureka!  At that time, I really believed in my heart and soul that I was doing the best I could in that given situation and with Integrity.  But my personal definition of Integrity, and doing the “right thing” may not be someone else’s definition then or even now. Is there a right way and is there a wrong way of dealing with things in our lives that are difficult?  What I realized…in a moment of clarity…was that our personal “right way” of doing something maybe someone else’s “wrong way” of handling the same trial or test. 

     We must do the best we can, each time, and always do it with purity of heart.  But, brace yourself…sometimes, it may not be viewed as we would like.  Keep the destination in sight. I have to believe it is all seen from above by God.  I personally don’t believed that: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” as the cliche goes.  Good intentions… are always good, even if they fail.  If you tried your hardest… then regardless of the outcome,  you did it with Integrity.  Peace to all.   


Forgiveness… is a gift we can give ourselves!

The Gift of Forgiveness

Forgiving someone who has wronged us is not so easy. However, it is ultimately healing and the only way to move on from the abuse or injustice that has been done to us. This goes for any type of abuse: physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual. I am convinced of that fact; I also practice it. We are always “abused children” but we need not be abused adolescents or adults.
 If we dwell on what has been done “to us” in our lifetime rather than what we can “do for ourselves” we are powerless and don’t heal from the inside out. Rather, we are merely putting a scab on a wound that might, at any time, be ripped open. This is not in any way suggesting that we continue to keep the abuser(s) in our day to day life, but rather distance ourselves with a quiet dignity. If it is meant to be, in time…a relationship might take place, but only if the “offender” has been rehabilitated.  Again, this goes for all types of abuse and all personal injuries that are done “to” us.
BUT… I can not say it often enough:

God is merciful; let us practice that as well.

Been abused? Then don’t pass it on!

At one particular meeting I was asked,  if I actually believe that someone who had been abused … could really heal. This person had been verbally abused for years; first by a parent (now dead) and more recently by her husband from whom she is now divorced.  When this question was asked of me … it was asked sarcastically and with a great deal of anger.

I knew this woman’s children and all of them were now wearing the “scars” of their mother’s own  experienced abuse.  Nothing they did was ever right; yet, she was not a good role model for them herself… according to her actions and practices.  They were worthless and useless; yet, there was little positive reinforcement and direction in their lives or lessons on how to be “better.”  Children of all ages need direction.

The children were told over and over how abusive and contolling their father was; yet, it was in their father’s care they remained… when she left their home.  She complained about her life, put down others, pointed fingers, and was negative…at everything in her life…past and present.  What was evident was that she was so close to the situation that she honestly didn’t see herself as being the “new” abuser to her own children and those around her
Abuse, even verbal abuse, takes on a life of its own.

If you have been the recipient of constant verbal negativity, ( or perhaps just sometimes)—and you choose to pass it on—you are perpetuating the hurt and abuse that you yourself have experienced. How does that make you any better or different from your own abuser? If you have been the recipient of Verbal or Emotional Abuse…it is never ok to pass it along.

My answer is clear; I do believe you can heal from abuse. However, you don’t heal when you become the new statistic and now you yourself are the abuser. It’s up to you.

Siblings…not so much!

     There have been numerous times over the years, when I have actually felt shortchanged (for lack of a better word) for not having  any brothers and sisters of my own.  Sure, I had friends, but it’s not the same as a sibling. 

     Selfishly, perhaps I wanted and needed someone to not only share my hard times while I was growing up, but also to celebrate and rejoice in the wonders of LIFE as I’ve come to know them. I have always felt alone in that regard. Even though my husband and I are extremely close and share more than I ever thought possible, he only “knows” of my past, he did not experience it himself or know me during those formative years. He’s not someone with a common history.  

     But what I suddenly realized not too long ago, while stepping back and observing friends and family, is that sometimes having a sibling(s) is difficult itself… and often produces its own aloneness.  As we get older, there are times where brothers and sisters don’t view life and the world in the same way.  The closeness that was present during youth is now divided by ever present differences in lifestyles, physical distances, and personal agendas with negative choices.  The common history of innocence during childhood is often tarnished with individual anger, resentments, and egos in adulthood.

      From an outsider’s view, mine in this case, it is baffling. I would have done anything for a brother or sister when I was growing up; I wish I was so blessed now.  Should not every effort be made to heal any rift between siblings, even if it’s minor?   Or, actual candid discussion, with  gut level honesty, as to why an event or words played out between siblings the way it did would be a good place to start.  To think or believe that issues go away and are forgotten down the road and time heals all wounds, as the cliche goes, is ridiculous to me.

      It is the same as putting a band-aid on a cut that really needs ten stitches.  It will indeed heal, after a time, but the scar will be ever present as a constant nagging reminder, and the duration of healing time will be lengthy.  It also appears counterproductive not to discuss things immediately, and come to common agreement, as  experience shows that negative behavior surfaces repeatedly unless clear feelings of disapproval are made known immediately.  

     Those expressions and sentiments e.g. You are too sensitive, Just forget about it, and You took it the wrong way,  are merely avoidance statements.  It’s much more difficult to address something head on and clear the air, but ultimately more positive for both involved parties. Issues need resolution and closure. And, there should never be any choosing sides between siblings if you are a parent or another sibling.      There is no easy way to have a family, but it beats having none.  But…if a sibling has consistantly caused you and your family nothing but heartache…perhaps, a “time out” is in order!