I recently wrote and delivered a speech for my Toastmasters club – my 10th speech which meant I’d receive my Competent Communicator badge (Yeah!!). Since integrity has been my topic of contemplation recently, I decided to speak about it.
I’ve been challenged at being able to discern if someone is being integral at times. Then, the more I thought about it, I realized it isn’t that difficult. Just because I can understand someone’s justification or rationalization, doesn’t mean a wrong becomes a right. I will accept and express compassion for myself and others, and I will personally challenge and encourage myself and others to strive for better.
On a recent flight back from England, the movie shown was “Freedom Writers” – which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet – a fitting example of the need for people to choose and act with integrity.
The movie is set in 1994, at a high school in Long Beach, California. The student body is quite diverse, from varying cultures, who each stick to “their own”. Each culture has its own gang, and the gangs are at war. These kids are packing guns and each student has at least one friend who’s died in a gang war. Students and teachers alike fear for their lives every day, never knowing when a gang fight will break out.
The story focuses on an English class, with a brand-new teacher, whose mission is to have a life changing impact on the lives of her students. She strives to unite the students by helping them recognize that they have much more in common than they have differences. At the beginning of the movie, the students hate her and feel she could never understand them. By the end they are united and rally to keep her as their teacher.
Part of the movie shares the experience of a student, Eva, who witnesses a murder. The boy who pulls the trigger is from her gang. Since Eva has been taught by her parents to “protect your own”, she believes it is her responsibility to lie in court and pin the murder on a boy from another gang. Her teacher, who becomes affectionately known as Mrs. G., has such an impact on her that by the end of the movie when it comes time to tell the truth, the whole truth – Eva does. Even though she still believes in protecting “her own”, her definition of “her own” has expanded and it is no longer ok to do what is wrong, to meet this value. She knows she is risking her own life, however telling the truth takes precedence.
I was inspired by her commitment to do the right thing despite the potential repercussions. It made me think of how many of us (I include myself and strive to be better) choose to do the wrong thing for much lesser reasons. Some people will do what they know at some level is wrong to meet their need or desire for power, attention, dominance, the respect of others, to gain popularity, for money, for fame, to be accepted by others or out of pure laziness (when doing the right thing takes more effort) – not for reasons that are at all life threatening.
Conscious creation is not just about being able to create the reality you want. Conscious creation is also about making conscious choices – the right choice for the right reason, in alignment to your values and for what you know morally as right.
It’s about demonstrating respect for the environment, for yourself, your purpose, your passion, and your brilliance! By acting in a manner that demonstrates respect for all, including yourself, you automatically attract respect from others. When you attract respect from others in this way, you never need to do the unmoral to achieve your goals because the Universe takes care of “its own”!