1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
5. reputation: a stain on one’s character.
Character, integrity, honesty, ethics, morals, values. These are words that we throw around and muse on how much they mean and how important they are.
“You are known by the company you keep” is an old adage and really does speak volumes…
We all make choices in life. We all justify those choices. Sometimes we are able to compartmentalize our lives and fool ourselves that we are good people who have done things that we’re not proud of because we “had to”. Because life left us no other option but to lie or to deceive or to cheat. The raw truth is though that we always have a choice and very often we tend to make the choice that, at the time, is the easy way out of a situation. We let someone else take the blame rather than own up to a transgression; we help gossip along that we know isn’t true because it makes us look better; we hurt someone else even though we know it’s wrong because we get something we want out of it.
Or… we stand by and see all this in a friend or a lover or a partner… and we still keep them in our lives…even when we know that their character is not in line with who we are and how we strive to live our lives.
True, it’s not all black and white; we all engage in behaviour that isn’t always exemplary. But there’s a big difference between a bad choice made out of fear of loss or intentional deception and hurt. Such as hiding something from a partner because you fear them leaving if they knew the truth…that is coming from a place of internal pain and fear and they do that with the intention of sparing themselves pain. Someone who proves time and again however that they will lie, cheat and deceive to further their own agenda and get their own needs fulfilled – at the expense of whoever gets in their way – they are coming from a place of intending to hurt and cause pain to others. Some will argue that intentions don’t matter, just the action but to me there is a difference. While intention doesn’t make something right or better than the other…it does, for me, make the difference between being able to decide if someone is worth keeping in my life. Maybe not as close, but still there…or cut them loose completely.
It’s when we’re finally honest enough with ourselves to stop and look at who we surround ourselves with that we need to make the really tough decisions. Decisions about whether we’ll take the easy way out and just keep on with relationships and associations with people we know do not align with our own values and morals and whose ethics are so far removed from ours or… whether we’ll do what we know is right and make the choice to distance those people from our hearts and our lives.
It may mean fewer friends or losing someone (or a whole group of friends) but I believe in quality over quantity. There are things that compromise is all right for, and some that it’s not. Every now and then it’s good to look around and make sure that those who are a part of your close circle are truly those who belong there.