Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away. – Elvis Presley
What does that mean?
I’m not sure if he invented this one, or if it’s a bit of folk wisdom, handed down for generations. But it is catchy, and it is quite true. Many people have been brought down by truths they thought they had shuttered away forever.
But the truth won’t stay hidden forever. Information turns up from time to time. Evidence surfaces. Tongues wag. People put things together. And eventually, the truth emerges. Even if slowly and in drips and drabs, it will find its way out.
This is both a truism, and a warning. It warns us that, eventually, the truth will catch up to us. It’s a warning to stick to the truth, and avoid lies and other untruths. It’s a warning to do what is right the first time, and every time. Because if you don’t, it will eventually catch up to you.
Why is integrity important?
I use the word integrity here, because it is about honesty, and so much more. Whether you’re a scientist pretending to have invented cold fusion or to have successfully cloned a human, or a little kid with cookie crumbs on their face, integrity is about not doing it in the first place. Failing that, it is about facing the truth, and admitting that you did (or didn’t) do it.
People with integrity don’t have to worry about the truth coming out, because the truth is their friend. Those without integrity worry about the truth, because the truth can harm them. More precisely the truth will reveal the harm they have done to themselves.
Because in the end, having integrity means not hurting yourself, your reputation, or your honor. You may not be perfect, but you don’t try to hide from the truth, nor do you try to hide the truth. You admit your mistakes, try to learn from them, and move forward with your life.
Where can I apply this in my life?
For once, this is an easy question to answer. Everywhere. Having integrity, doing the right thing as often as possible, and confessing when you fail, can be hard, but it is right. You may get grief at that moment, but the shame or embarrassment isn’t forever, and hopefully you will learn from it.
Just ask some of the people who tried to hide the truth. President Richard Nixon tried to hide the truth, but it refused to go away. About a dozen years later, another President was faced with a scandal. President Ronald Reagan admitted that wrong had been done, and opened the shutters.
Watergate was the scandal that forced Nixon to resign when the truth came out (despite great efforts to shut it out). On the other hand, in the Iran-Contra scandal, great efforts were made to ferret out the truth and Reagan’s Presidency survived the scandal.
I would imagine that we could all add a tidbit from our own youthful experiences. It might not have been on the scale of destroying a government, but it probably knocked us down a few notches in the eyes of our peers. Hopefully we’ve also learned from those experiences.
It would be an interesting exercise to try to find all the major scandals in our lives that would occur if certain secrets came out. Who would be scandalized if they knew you were wearing a hair-piece? Or do you dye your hair? What other skeletons are hiding in your closet?
I’m not saying that the best course is to throw open your closet doors and show off all the bad things about you that have ever happened. But you might want to use them as reasons to do the right thing next time, and to prepare others for the eventual rising of the bright light of the truth.
The whole point, both of this blog post and the quote, is to remind us that we can sometimes do stupid things, and then compound the stupidity by trying to hide it. The quote reminds us that it doesn’t stay hidden as long as we might wish. Don’t let your pride hurt you.
My recommendation is to try to limit the stupidity by remembering that eventually, it will be found out. And if we fail in preventing it, at least I hope we can chose not to compound it by trying to hide it. Because it won’t stay hidden forever. Admit it, learn your lesson, and move on as best you can.
From: Twitter, @MakeAWish
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/elvispresl133068.html
Photo by samantha celera
Happy birthday to The King of Rock’n’Roll, born 8 January, 1935.