Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner is hoping that someone will do something really bad–newsworthy bad, so that the scandal-loving press will leave him alone and let him attempt to rebuild his life. That’s my guess, anyway. No, we’re not going to bash Mr. Weiner. First, we’re not inclined to do that. Second, it’s been done ad nauseum.
Public and Private
But Mr. Weiner’s “situation” brings to mind a key element of character: Integrity.
He was one person in public and quite another in private. He espoused one set of values and principles when the cameras were rolling, but seemed to leave many of those values and principles at the office. I wonder how often I do that? How often do you do that?
A Different Person with Different People
How often do I portray one set of values publicly, but then leave them in the car before I go inside my home?
Do you do that? I know I have.
It’s natural to have some differences when in private. We’re more relaxed, more at home. We’re not “on.” We lounge in our grungy shorts and favorite T-shirt with the sleeves torn out at the elbows that your wife would love to get rid of but you’ve made it clear that she’s never to touch that beloved garment (sorry, a little stream of consciousness leak).
But we’re not talking about that kind of difference. We’re talking about differences in what we claim in public and who we are when nobody’s looking. Do we live out in private what we profess in public? Are we kind to our co-workers but dismissive and rude to our families? You get the idea.
Integrity isn’t about being perfect in some rules-based, moralistic sense. Attempting to achieve that will make us crazy, and will makes us really awful people to be around.
Integrity is about wholeness, about the elements of our lives fitting together with a sense of continuity. It’s about being the same essential person in public and in private.
This is what I want: wholeness, not perfection–consistency throughout. The temptation to be “on” when in public, to put on an image for the crowds is tremendous for many of us.
What I Need
I’m not strong enough to get this wholeness on my own. I need to be close to a power greater than my own to make it happen. I need grace, the grace of God. And, I need good friends–people who’ll love me and even, at times, put up with me.
What do you need to have wholeness, to have integrity?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.
Thanks for reading,