Originally posted on Facebook HERE

Just a really crazy mish-mosh of things going on in my head today. Thinking about integrity a lot, and revenge… forgiveness… the battle between good and evil… happiness… and dogs. Specifically my dog Gizmo. He seems pretty happy. I don’t think he really struggles much with the battle between good and evil, either. He’ll fight to protect his family, but he’s not big on revenge, and he’s very quick to forgive. And, if he likes you, you’re gonna know it. As humans, we constantly struggle with decision making, and there’s a lot of grey areas in there. If you’re selling your home, do you disclose everything?… everything? The plumbing issue that you think you maybe fixed, but aren’t really sure and you know that if it continues to be an issue it’ll be very expensive to repair correctly? Do you disclose that? You probably don’t have to, but… you also know they could move in and have a huge bill very soon thereafter. And if they find out you maybe knew about it, they might sue. Many “good” people would justify not disclosing in this case. We have similar decisions to make on an almost daily basis. If you’re having a hard time financially, and you find a wallet with $2000 in it… as well as the person’s ID… even a good person could come to the conclusion that keeping the money, and mailing the wallet back would be justified if that money really helps their family. At some point we all decide for ourselves, “What kind of a person do we want to be?” And thankfully, this is a decision that we get to make every second of our lives – so the person we were in the past doesn’t have to be who we are in the future. When we cut corners, when we’re always looking for the scam, when we lie by omission, or exaggerate to try to change someone’s opinion – we often, probably always, have a justification for our actions in the back of our minds. It usually benefits us in some way. But where is any benefit gained if we lose our integrity? And how do you feel when you’re on the other end of things, as the person who’s been taken advantage of? Hurt? Angry? You want revenge?… We love stories about revenge. Just look at the movies we watch. Charles Bronson. Dirty Harry. The “Taken” series. Every early Steven Seagal movie… and many more. Someone does a despicable act, then they pay (usually by being killed in a gruesome graphic way). And we love it. It feels so good when the bad guys get theirs. Hey, I like those movies as much as anyone. But that’s the movies. When someone does you wrong in real life, and you hold onto that anger, waiting for a time and a way to get even… who is being hurt in that process? Will you be happier in general holding on to this anger and hatred, or by forgiving and walking away? Often in life, the “easy” decision isn’t always the best one for our own well being. We all have a part of our psyche that pushes us to cut corners, and look out for ourselves even if it means hurting others – to seek revenge, to hold grudges, etc. – and that part of us is generally mean, angry and aggressive. Most of us also have within us a conscience that “knows” what the right thing to do is. Sometimes the right thing to do can be a very tough thing to actually follow through on. Sometimes we can benefit greatly from a little white lie, or cutting a corner here and there. I’ve done my share of both. I have to say, when we stand with integrity as much as possible, we feel better about ourselves, and that feeling brings more gratitude, love and happiness than anything else we’d have to gain by cheating, lying or stealing – no matter what the short term gain. We can’t change the past. But we have this moment, and every future moment. Spend some time really thinking about the person you want to be today. Let us stand tall with integrity going forward as much as we possibly can.

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