Doing some self reflection, I have noticed a trend. Lately I am willing to publicly acknowledge some traits that are not necessarily desirable.
In discussions with some people, they have owned up to some actions of theirs and seen how those actions go against their ideas of personal integrity. And this disturbed them greatly. Their actions did not match up to their ideas about themselves.
I had been thinking about that and some other things and realized that while I may have an idea about who I am and what I will and won’t do, I think I allow for change and deviation much more than I have seen in others.
These are some examples:
I have come to the realization that I don’t consider myself an honest person. I don’t have much of a problem telling a lie when I want to. I have a hard time admitting my lack of honesty to others because while I don’t see too much of a problem in it, I can see where others might. When I look at the scope of my lack of honesty, it isn’t that I lie often. Most of the time, I want to be honest. It is important to me. My idea is that things work out best if all the information is there and the only way that happens is if everyone is as honest as possible. I prefer honesty. But, if I feel the need to lie, I don’t have much of an issue with it. I can lie quite gleefully. But it usually takes a lot to get me to that point. Since I don’t have an investment in being honest all the time and am not reluctant to lie, I can’t really feel like I can call myself an honest person.
I feel the same way about my personal integrity. I am sure for what I consider the right reasons I will happily sell myself out. 99% of the time, I probably live with integrity but I am very aware of that the other 1% stops me from saying I hold my personal integrity important to me.
My mom used to claim I was really generous. I didn’t really see it. From inside, it is always me first. I don’t give things away. I am actually quite greedy. My needs, actually my wants, must be met first, then I might give something away. As I watched this to see what she was talking about, I realized I give lots of things away (objects, time, attention, advice, etc.). But it only happens after everything I need and want is taken care of first. The stuff I give away is extra. I don’t care that much for it. While it may be a big deal to someone else, it is much less to me. So I didn’t see that as being generous. Also, I get a real kick out of giving something someone really likes to them. I get more out of it than they do. Again, doesn’t seem generous to me. I can now see where I might actually be generous and how others can see me that way. But I wouldn’t use generous to describe who I am.
These are just a couple of examples of how I view myself. I can see where others would consider the fact that I don’t consider myself honest, of having integrity, of being generous as negative things. That is the reason I don’t usually own up to these attitudes. I don’t see them as negative. They are just a part of who I am. They have good sides and bad sides.
I can also see where others don’t agree with my ideas that I am not these things. They see the times I am honest, act with integrity, am generous. They don’t see the other side or don’t see it that often so they discount it.
If someone considers you honest, then it is expected that you will tell the truth. If don’t consider you honest, then they expect you to be dishonest and don’t trust what you say. I typically don’t try to explain my ideas because I am concerned that they will switch to seeing the negative side of things and not trust me where they should. Close friends get explanations so they learn not to trust me where they shouldn’t (big one most of them know is not to trust me to be on time.)
I know the basic range of desire for honesty and my ability to be dishonest. I do not know from moment to moment which will occur but I do know the likelihood of each. Most of the time, it is honesty. I have no way of conveying that information to others so I would rather they think of me as an honest person than a dishonest person. It is closer to correct.
I was thinking about how much the lack of integrity bothered these two people that admitted it to me. How much it shook them to their core to realize that their actions did not match up to their ideals and I wondered why things like that don’t bother me (other things do but not this lack of “positive” qualities). And then I realized something from my work with the enneagram. Rules are important to me but that is mostly so I know where to keep to them and where to bend them. It suits me to keep to most of the rules most of the time, I prefer it that way but I don’t have a problem with bending the ones I want. That is why I don’t describe myself in absolutes (Honest, Generous, etc.) The absolutes lock me into something that I end up breaking. I rather have flexible definitions that change instead of needing to eventually break something.
Someone pointed something out to me in an enneagram workshop. The enneagram types 3, 8, and 7 find rules very important. 3s need to follow the rules, 8 either break the rules or make the rules, 7s bend the rules.
I feel I can better explain the reality behind my image of myself lacking certain “positive” qualities so I can own up to it publicly now. Ergo, this post.