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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fidelity and Decency

Maybe it is just me, but it seems that the erosion of fidelity and decency in human relationships is accelerating. Hypocrisy is part of the human condition, of course, and every person generates some amount of hurt and disappointment for their loved ones, but recent events have been pretty startling. I have been shaking my head over the shenanigans of IMF chiefs and former California governors.

Fidelity, faithfulness, loyalty, decency - these are the keys in all important human relationships, but especially in marital relationships. When you deeply trust another human and believe that they will keep their promises, it is easier to get through any challenges that you face in your life. Fidelity is a gift, but it is also self-serving. Keeping promises is a form of self-care, a path to gaining confidence in one's own character. Committing an act of betrayal leads to self-loathing and shame.

I have always felt that all good things start with promise-keeping. A person of character stands up and commits, and declares "I can and will do this." A person of character is easily-understood, and harbors no subterfuge or dark secrets. Individuals that fail to keep their promises eventually suffer losses. They might lose their relationships or their jobs; those bad events are preceeded by the loss of trustworthiness. To be betrayed by a deeply trusted person creates a wound that might never heal. An individual who has been betrayed finds it hard to trust anyone - the fear of more pain leads creates an unwillingness to take the risk and the heart can harden.

My mom used to say, "Behave like a gentleman." Gentlemen do not cheat on their wives or force themselves upon women. Gentlemen do not refuse to face their own misdeeds. Gentlemen consider the people involved, and act in their best interests. Gentlemen know that the "high road" is the easiest path, in the long run.

There are few gentlemen in politics and government these days.

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