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We Can Change Our Programming!

46. Honor, Character and Integrity

Honor, character and integrity are related to respect.  Honor is how we award respect for being, actions, behaviors and relationships that represent our values and principles.  Character is our creation of self as a reflection of our values, beliefs and principles.  Integrity is the extent to which we maintain our character in contexts of challenges to our character or opportunities to be consistent with our character.

We feel and express honor for ourselves and others based on how much we respect how we or they are, what we or they do, how we or they behave, or how we or they engage in relationships, in relation to our values and principles.  If “it” reflects or represents our values and principles well, we award honor to ourselves or them as an expression of respect and appreciation for our or their character and integrity.  We honor character and integrity with respect, because that promotes our values and principles.

We work on our character as an embodiment of our values and principles in our personalities, thoughts, behaviors, actions and relationships.  We represent our character, our embodied values and principles, in how we are, what we do, how we behave and how we engage in relationships.  We admire character, because we appreciate and respect the underlying values and principles that character incorporates.  Character is our core integration of our values and principles.

Integrity is how we uphold, confirm and maintain our character, values and principles.  If we’re put in a position that tempts or forces us to be, do, behave or relate in ways inconsistent with our character, values and principles, and we refuse to yield to that temptation or force, we demonstrate integrity.  When given an opportunity to be, do, behave or relate in ways that are consistent with our character, values and principles, and we do that, even when we don’t have to, we reveal integrity. 

If our boss or leader orders us to do something inconsistent with our character, values and principles, and we refuse, that’s integrity.  If we value honesty and transparency, and we’re told to lie or hide truth, and we refuse, that is integrity.  If we are given an opportunity to do something in a given situation, and we do something consistent with our character, values and principles, we are showing integrity.

So, respect, honor, character and integrity all exist in relation to values and principles.  Character is how we take on and integrate underlying values and principles that define what we’re trying to be and do, in our behaviors and relationships.  Integrity is being true to that character, to those values and principles.  Respect acknowledges being, doing, behaving and relating consistent with character and integrity.  Honor is an expression of respect, or the feeling of having, receiving or giving respect.

To work on respect, honor, character and integrity, we work with our values and principles.  We understand our values and principles, take them on as personal character, stay actively true to them, even in the face of challenges, and acknowledge and communicate appreciation and respect for character and integrity with honor to promote our values and principles.

Respect, honor, character and integrity are built on our values and principles.  Our values and principles are foundationally important to who we are, what we do, how we behave and how we relate to ourselves and others.  Our values and principles influence everything in our lives and societies.

 

So, where do our values and principles come from?  There is no values and principles class in school.  Values and principles are part of Philosophy, but Philosophy is usually an optional elective.  Values and principles are part of Religion, but people are increasingly disconnected with formal Religion, not going to church, temple or mosque, or increasingly not engaging deeply even if we are still formally members.  Values and principles are embedded in the founding documents of government, and those are taught, but there are many values and principles beyond those embedded in government.

 

For most of us, values and principles are mostly absorbed indirectly and largely subconsciously through our interactions with parents, family, teachers, neighbors, friends, peers, readings, entertainments and work cultures.  They’re a part of our conditioning or programming.  We do not explicitly and consciously work on identifying and understanding our values and principles.  Rather, our core values and principles sort of seep in around the edges, between the lines, behind the scenes, and through the cracks.   

We need to engage with our values and principles consciously and intentionally.  They are too important to be afterthoughts or unconscious.  We need to intentionally develop our own character, based on those values and principles.  We need to examine our programming and conditioning ourselves and eliminate pieces that are not consistent with our values and principles.  We need to live, be, do, behave and relate with integrity, being true to our character, values and principles.  We need to communicate respect and show honor for character, action, behavior and relationships that reflect our values and principles, in order to encourage and promote those values and principles in ourselves and others.

 

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