One of the primary benefits of training in the martial arts is the building of self-respect. As the feeling of self-respect becomes habitual, it becomes a strong self-trust. This self-trust is based on behaviors revolving around high ideals, strong moral convictions, standards, beliefs and values. In the orient this is called “face”. If we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose “face”. If we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose “face” in our own eyes. We respect ourselves less. Integrity, or the lack of it, has arisen as an issue.
So, What is integrity? Integrity means words and behaviors match. There are people we know that we trust and people we know that we don’t. The people we trust have words and actions that match and the people we don’t have words and actions that don’t match. It’s that simple. These examples are all around us, parents who lecture their children on honesty yet lie to their friends and neighbors, employers who ask for honest feedback and then penalize the employee who disagrees with them. People who say “do as I say, not as I do”.
A lack of integrity is a direct attack on the self-esteem. Whenever behavior-lacking integrity destroys self-esteem, only behavior practicing integrity can restore it. To understand why lapses of integrity are so destructive to self-esteem, one must understand what a lapse of integrity means. It is a betrayal of your own mind. It damages you as no external force can damage you. It is a direct assault on your self-respect. You lose face.
Create one face and build your self-respect by always matching your thoughts and words with your behaviors and actions.
Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.