In this series I want to share my values and what impact they have. Some values I changed, because I recognized that they are not helpful for me. The first value I want to talk about is integrity. This is a good example for a value which I often used to completely dismiss for empathy. Empathy was for a long time my most favorised value. Many beliefs were fed from there and this value itself was created out of some strong beliefs.
When replacing empathy with integrity it does not mean that they are not compatible per se. It is more a tendency to prioritize one value over another. There can be some conflicts between the two values which hinder You to achieve something or to get a certain clarity in Your life.
I used to take over the conviction that empathy is important to save our planet. Without empathy greed and destruction is spreading because everybody is just selfish. Behind that there stands the mind set that things or behaviour exist just in black or white. To belief in a spectrum instead of Yes and No changed the heroisation of empathy. Absolute empathy is a dogma, a restriction.
Also I believed that empathy is needed to have a good conversation. That it is etiquette to listen to the other until the other finishes the talk and be even abused with stuff I am not interested in. I wanted to be nice and expected the other to be nice, too. I was unconscious about that this was my point of view which I subconsciously demanded from others. I wanted others to be empathic the same way and to follow the same rule in a conversation. As a result, in conversations I were cautious and evasive. Deep down there was a craving for harmony which had its roots in doubting to be ok as I am.
Integrity is an antonym to empathy. That does not mean is is the exact contrary but they exclude some behaviour in decision driven interactions or situations. Integrity has much in common with authenticity. Especially in situations where your moral standards are callenged, integrity will keep You up to them. But to understand the other in the first place You take Your positions or express Your opinion.
That is why empathy does not have to be the real antimony to integrity. Rather, priority is important here. If you are empathic at first and then at some point with integrity, you will quickly understand the other person but lack to feel Yourself. You will then have more difficulty in really feeling yourself and knowing what you really want. Too much empathy makes you passive and susceptible to unhelpful maneuvers.
Now, as I put integrity on empathy, in conversations and decisions, I first look at my feelings and thoughts and not at what others might feel. This initially creates a tension, as old values and their beliefs still trigger old behavior. It feels selfish and alien. But this feeling is a fke feeling caused by mental patterns. And the more I trust in my integrity and at first see what I want, the more I can compromise on what others want. And in retrospect, I stay in the clarity, because I stayed true to myself.
Empathy is also often an escape to feel Yourself. Of course, no empathy is also a condition that is not helpful for living together. Unempathic people can be very cold and life can be a little harsh with them. On the other hand, when many empathic people interact, it can lead to everyone paying attention to the needs of others and turning the game around. Instead of caring for themselves obviously first, each one cares too much for the other, which in turn causes uncertainty. Because a lot of empathy often means a lot of speculation about what the other person might feel. And building on that how I want to behave is a waste of time and energy.
Integrity also means how much your other values are in tune with Your actions and Your way of feeling and thinking. Therefore, this value is very important in itself, because it assigns other values automatically. If you are of integrity, it is also your concern that other values interact well and complement each other.
Nonetheless, there are some areas of value integrity that I am wary of. Again, certain aspects naturally collide with other values or aspects of them. For example, if I want to be very flexible, integrity may be too rigid. The concept of honor also brings with it problems, as it is a very personalized concept that stands in the way of a wise view of life. Those who put too much value on their persona and their persona run the risk of forgetting that these are masks that we can put off like clothes.
In many career stages and companies integrity can be a hindrance if you are very focused on success. It may be that something is required of you that goes against your values and beliefs. When I was still working as a biology lab technician, I was increasingly aware of conflicts, based solely on the feeling of being at a pharmaceutical company. This was especially strong when I was doing animal testing myself in the training, but it did not go away when I was working in departments that were more in keeping with my values. Still, I was in a company that fulfilled served my most values by violating other values and this did not feel good. That was a crucial point to convince and re-think my work.
In a company, a value perception can be crucial, especially if you are an employee and therefore more or less instruction bound. If you have to follow instructions that are consistent with your values in both small and large, it will always cause stress as you try to compensate. Either you buy meaningless stuff to counter your emptiness or you become dependent on one of the socially acceptable drugs. Think about it well, therefore, what your values are and whether you already live them.