How does empathy effect integrity to values?

word of month character

Being true to ourselves, authentic and living to our highest values can be challenging, especially when the events of the day or the choices made by others hurt us. When there is an event that takes place that doesn’t fit into our plans or idea of how it was going to go how do we remain faithful to the virtues and values we hold at the highest level?

We may want to ask ourselves what virtue do we need at this time to help us remain in integrity to ourselves?  What could I consider to help me be understanding? What would help me be more likely to show integrity?

One virtue that comes to my mind that is helpful in many situations to show integrity to our highest values is empathy. When we can think first of the other person and put ourselves in their shoes, walk on their path, see circumstances through their eyes, the choice we make in our response is more likely to be guided by our highest self.

For students in school, if you were to see someone cheating in school or a competition, how would you react? If we use empathy the question would be, “If I do not speak up what might happen?” If you witnessed a person being picked on, bullied or an aggressor going after someone unable to defend themselves, empathy would have us ask ourselves if I do not act with integrity and speak up for what is important to me, what will the results be.

At the same time if we saw a person left out of an activity or group empathy for the person would move us not to ignore the situation, but rather step in and do what is right.  We act with integrity when we speak up, help others and give of ourselves motivated by our empathy.

Of course, this works for adults also. When we take a moment to consider the other person’s point of view, how they may feel or their circumstances, it is more likely that we will respond to the event or situation with integrity to our values. Taking that stance can be a challenge, mainly if an incident affects our family or us that we would prefer not happen. Maintaining our peacefulness and that of those around us occurs when we live by the virtues kindness, consideration, and understanding.

Empathy is a stepping stone to staying true to ourselves and practicing integrity to who we are and want to be.

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