I think the answer lies in the very phrase: integrity. Why are you making the choices that you make? What is the “greater good” that you’re looking for, and is it worth the price you’re paying? These are bigger dilemmas that require a bit more pondering and discernment than whether to have salad or pizza for lunch.
Here’s an example: I recently read an article on the values of people in different classes in America. Most of it didn’t surprise me, but one thing did stick out that really made me think: it said that lower and middle class people base their friendships on connections and mutual interests, while high class people base friendship on value to self: in other words, their friends are the people who can do the most for them.
It was something I suspected based on some interactions I had occasionally, but to see it put so blatantly was shocking. Then again, isn’t that what we call politics? You get ahead by doing favors, and the only way to keep moving up is to keep connecting with others who can do favors? Well, that’s a hell of a loop. Can you really trust anybody? Then again, does that matter to them? To me, it seems way too big a compromise to make. But then again, I’m a middle class person saying this. One in that system would say that I don’t “get it,” and they’d be right. To me, you’re a decent person or you aren’t. I want to be around people who are good, honest folk that I have things in common with. I don’t think friendship should be about what you can get out of it. But then again, I don’t get it. To me, this is too big of a compromise.
Compromise can go too far where it becomes a bad thing, and here we have to be careful. Give the benefit of the doubt and don’t be judgmental – but you need to have boundaries. Turn the other cheek – but don’t be a doormat. Forgive – but stand up for yourself. Where is the line between what’s reasonable compromise, and what’s too much that will damage our character?
Only you know, and I think that deep down you know when that line is getting too close, or has been crossed. You can love a person, thing, or situation, but if it changes and what it’s becoming is too much a conflict with your beliefs, then you have to decide how many excuses you can make before it’s better to just let it go – either temporarily or permanently.
Then there are those rare, other situations when you know you’re being asked to compromise too much, and standing up to it will be tough. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been asked to cover up intentional wrong doing, and had to choose whether to do the right thing, or go along with it. Heck, it seems that the key to popularity is in this arena, and it’s one I never mastered. It’s also why the word “nice” will never be used to describe me. I’m just one of those stubborn people whose going to do what I feel is right no matter what, and if you want to prevent that, then you should do what’s right first. And this is why I’m not popular!
Oh well. They obviously didn't know me well enough, and they can’t do anything for me anyway.
I think the point is that compromise and consequences are things we live with every day, but the degrees to which we deal with them vary. Hopefully, your day to day is the simple stuff, but every now and then more might be asked, required, or need to be denied. That’s why it’s so important to have a strong faith, a good prayer life, and a healthy sense of confident self. Only you know what’s best for you, and in this area it’s important to be true to yourself in every day and every situation you face.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.