To align our lives with truth, we must first identify just what our truth is in any given situation. When we become more comfortable and skilled at identifying our truth at any given moment, it is only then that we can help our children tune into their own.
With our teens, they often have a “sixth sense” for what is true. Our job can be validating it for them, helping them expand their diplomatic skills, and how they express and negotiate on behalf of their truth.
It is my opinion that integrity is the living of our truth, within our decisions, attitudes and behaviors. Notice I didn’t include thoughts—the human brain is capable of producing just about any thought imaginable! Integrity comes into play with what we do or don’t do with any given thought.
Forgiveness exists at varying levels of integrity. There is nothing inherently right or wrong with any of these levels. Depending on how emotionally charged we are in a given situation, most of us can exercise forgiveness at any of these levels. The important thing is to be aware and honest with yourself about how much your forgiveness and integrity are in alignment. Self-empowerment depends on it, regardless of the level!
Level 1: “I forgive them.”
Based on denial or a disconnect from our truth; when we are out of touch with our real thoughts, feelings, beliefs. (Society places value on altruism, but be careful that you are aligned with what is true for you).
Level 2: “No, I am not forgiving them.”
This is often more aligned with our truth than Level 1, even though it seems harsher. (A pitfall to watch out for here is when you have strong negative emotions about someone or something, these can blind you from awareness of your deeper truth which is often more forgiving).
Level 3: “I forgive them.”
Level 3 might take place when we are self-motivated for personal gain; we are aware that we really are not forgiving them, e.g., “I’m really not forgiving them, but it serves my best interest to act like I am.” (A common pitfall here is negatively self-judging).
Level 4: “I forgive them.”
“I don’t really forgive them, but I see how important it is to them to receive my forgiveness. I care about them and want to help them.”
Level 5: “I can forgive them as a person, but I don’t forgive their behavior.”
Level 6: “I forgive them, as they are a struggling, flawed human being, just as I am. We are all in this together.”
Our mastery of identifying and then living with integrity is the only way we can truly teach it to our children. Our words have little long-lasting meaning to them; rather how we live and model integrity is what they will become.
By // Shelley Uram, M.D.