“Once you rationalize the first misstep, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of behavior.”
-Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T’Pol
Let me be perfectly clear. I’m not perfect nor do I claim to be. I have stumbled. I have fallen short. I have wanted to disregard my responsibilities in such a way that made me appear irresponsible or downright careless. Even with this book and the opportunity that it offers me to do something meaningful. However, as much as we may use this as an excuse and as much as it is a fact, it doesn’t give us permission to breach our commitment or take avenues that don’t honor the reasons in which we made them.
I don’t like the phrase “Whatever it takes.” It means so many things and it opens so many doors. In this instance, I could have committed plagiarism and took all of my source material and made it mine. It isn’t. I could have lied to myself and thought of this as just another way to make money or get over on other people. I can’t. I don’t have it in me to be so conniving or maliciously manipulative. I just can’t be that way.
I will say that I’m a Christian. It doesn’t imbue me with omniscience or clairvoyance. I’ve had to learn things the hard way. I’ve had to set guidelines that enabled me to not stray away from my sensibilities. I’m guilty of doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons. I’m joyous because I know what’s like to do the right things for the right reasons. I’ve been confused by doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Finally, I’ve been disgusted because I’ve done the wrong things for the right reasons. It’s hard to keep everything straight!
Part of keeping everything straight, or trying to anyway, is just knowing your enemy. That enemy can be a person, thing, or an idea. Some of my biggest enemies have been doubting, mistrust, and paranoia. I can deal with people. I can deal with things. Successfully or not is honestly beside the point. Like I said, I fall victim to things I probably shouldn’t. I find victory by defeating circumstances that have beaten me down in the past. Discernment doesn’t really help me in a manner that gives me a means to defend myself. It isn’t a sword to attack with. It’s more like a shield to defend with.
A basic instinct really is that if you’re going to willingly be in a position that offends your sensibilities, then you should be ready to defend yourself from them. Or, perhaps better yet don’t even put yourself there! It’s not easy to sit down with yourself and outline what you can and what you can’t do. Nobody likes to be limited like that. Nobody wants to feel subjugated because of what may or may not happen to them. Ultimately, it just comes down to what we are willing to do to achieve the objective.
I’ve done things I’m not proud of to get what I want. I’ve lied to save my own ass. I’ve cheated my way to success and I’ve thrown people to the wolves because I didn’t want to lose. I can admit that I’m not as honorable as I could have been. Quite frankly, I’m surprised to be in such a good position that I am considering all of that. Well, maybe not when I’m writing this particular section. I’m in pretty bad shape now and I’m okay with that. I can take my punishment. I deserve it.
But, that’s part of the lesson. It’s easy to excuse and rationalize breaking the rules because we believe the ends justify the means. I’m guilty of using that line. It’s the truth. It’s also an excuse. But, in the end, it’s my choice. I’m responsible for them and my decision-making process is reflective of what I thought was acceptable or not depending on the case. Though, in retrospect, there really shouldn’t have been exceptions. It might have saved me a lot of trouble down the road or if I had been a lot more resolute, I may have avoided situations period. But, what’s done is done, right?
Not everybody, I among them, know their actions can start you down a slippery slope. It’s deceptively easy to veer away from what makes you who you are if you’re sufficiently motivated. It happens to the best of us. But, all we can really do is just use our best judgment and hope that in the end, we made the right decision. I would like to think that the right decisions don’t lead to an identity crisis of sorts. But, I think we all know the right thing isn’t always the best thing and that the choices we would like aren’t always the choices we are given. I think it’s a given that there would be certain times and places where our sensibilities and rules aren’t always applicable.
I’ve had my fair share of victories and defeats. I think we all have. Personally, I feel like I’m always fighting an uphill battle. There’s not hardly any equal footing or fair ground. Mainly because I’ve had such an unfair perception of what it all really is. I’ve come to understand that being able to achieve the goal is one thing. However, achieving the goal in an honorable way means so much more. Some people think that winning is enough and I would agree with that. There are times when I’d consider not losing a win in itself. However, just finding some form of victory wasn’t enough.
There’s victory in not even having to fight at all. Some things aren’t worth getting into a conflict over. What’s there to gain in making an issue of something that really isn’t? Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is an issue with a hypothetical discussion. But, I do take an issue with those who feel an issue is relevant or important more than anything else. Issues are issues. How big they are or how relevant they are is to be decided mutually. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be resolved. As a matter of fact, unresolved issues can be excessively detrimental.
I don’t want to think that we could ever really do the right thing all of the time. I don’t think it’s possible to have that kind of insight. Sure, we can be close and we can consider everything but at the end of the day, we’re going to do what we’re going to do. Whatever that action is will be dictated by a set of guidelines and it’s equally as important that those guidelines be possible to adhere to. Granted, it’s a lot more than just a set of rules. However, if we honor those rules, it will be less difficult to break them.
Nobody’s perfect. Why try to be? There really isn’t much to making sound decisions other than listening to your own good sense