…so says Modest Mouse, nailing his generation’s main failing, IMHO: capriciousness.
It’s not what people pronounce they stand for that I value, it’s what they actually do. And not just “right now,” but consistently. You can’t expect others to trust and believe in you, if you abandon your convictions whenever they get slightly burdensome or you compromise when you’re afraid or lackadaisical.
How many people do you know who fervently state that they’re vegetarians or never eat sugar until they’re at a potluck or restaurant with little options, those who say they only eat organic and local but usually shop at Slave-way cause it’s near their house, denounce spanking but slap their children for “talking back” or maintain that we should speak calmly with kids but scream at them for spilling their juice or coming home late?
The truth of trust lives in your actions, dependable actions. This is what makes those around you feel secure. Holding to one’s principles doesn’t mean doing so only when convenient; it’s the opposite. Courage isn’t undertaking difficult things, it’s undertaking difficult things while holding hands with your fear.
You don’t have to be perfect but you can’t be “consistently inconsistent” and call yourself integris. To be “gently” principled doesn’t have to signify fickleness only that you aren’t dogmatic or expect others to live as you do. Still, that should be the rarity, not the norm. As Oscar Wilde says, “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
Personal inauthenticity is a fatal disease; it kills you one day at a time. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through. Stand on your beliefs—don’t throw a rock and hide your hand. Do what you do with passion, integrity and pluck!