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Actions speak louder than words. We have an idea of how we would act in a given a set of circumstances. But when life tests of with a set of conditions we honestly see how we would respond.
If there’s one thing I’ve preached about, it’s that I’m a person with integrity. One of my role models is Dana Perino who also live by a particular moral code.
Integrity means conducting yourself a certain way that supports life. To always do the right thing. It’s up to you to choose your actions wisely because they have consequences.
In my life, I’ve had one standout situation that tested my integrity. It forced me to evaluate my morals.
It’s where I learned that you can’t control circumstances in life. Sometimes life just happens to you, and all you have is your morals to guide you.
I had a crush on a married man. This happens all the time. Every day we hear about celebrities having affairs and marriages falling apart.
But this kind of stuff doesn’t happen to me. I respect that marriage between one man and one woman.
So I’ll take you back to the very beginning……
It was during the interview process when Michael* (name changed) came in. My first impression was that he hated me. I chatted away trying to market myself the best I could. I really needed this job. The job I wanted to leave had used me up and spit me dry. I was dealing with a jealous manager who wouldn’t let me grow.
At the end of the interview, I felt a spark between Michael and I. Another person in the interview said something relatable, and we looked at each other and smiled.
At that moment I felt an unusual feeling stir in my heart region. Sort of like when you’re at the beach, and you bury a seashell in the sand. You dig for it, unearth it from the ground, and brush it off. Similarly, I felt like something was being uncovered and brushed off between Michael and me.
I got the job, and things were going well at the new company.
I was doing a great job with the tasks I was assigned. But energetically I felt something develop between Michael and I. In classic crush style I found myself nervous to be around him.
Reg flags went up immediately. This person is married. I put up a wall… My body was feeling a little different from my mind.
During my morning meditation, I incorporated a prayer to God. I asked God to please help me maintain my integrity. To not be swayed by this temptation. (Hey Empowered Lady, I grew up Catholic! Can you blame me? ☺)
Over the next couple months, this crush grew and grew. All I had to do was show up at work and hear the sound of his voice and my feelings deepened but so did my prayer to God and commitment to my integrity.
Why was I put in this situation? I’m a good person! Why am I being tested like this? I was angry.
It seemed like the universe kept putting Michael and me in odd situations. We always ended up working closely together. It was exhausting for me to fight this intense connection. Was I falling in love? Or was it purely animal attraction?
I kept thinking, what do we have in common? We never even had an intelligent conversation, I don’t know his views on politics, religion. Was his marriage in trouble?
Why does he keep coming over to me and blatantly flirting?
I felt intense guilt. I had done nothing wrong. I didn’t act on my feelings. But the very thought of being in this situation made me feel like an awful person.
I thought of his wife. This is her husband. I reassessed my morals. I’m the type of person who leads with integrity, and I won’t act on inappropriate feelings.
Even though this happened years ago, I decided to channel the energy into a post. I mentioned earlier people have affairs all the time. But marriage is sacred, Empowered Lady. It’s a union between two people for better or for worse. Maintain your integrity at all cost. There’s a price to pay for compromising it.
Here are my takeaways from the experience:
1. If You Haven’t Got Your Morals, You Haven’t Got Anything
I’ve always heard that saying, Empowered Lady. Haven’t you?
But to know it and understand it are two different experiences. What you stand for is like a badge of honor. If you stand for integrity, then this badge of honor brilliantly sparkles. Once you give it away, you feel used up and a little unworthy. Similar to Adam and Even when they ate the apple in the Garden of Eden.
We are all human, and temptation can be a potent potion. In times that you feel your integrity tested to its breaking point it’s important to confide in a friend, your parent or a trusted mentor. They can break the spell that your hormones can sometimes put you under.
It’s important to get this perspective because it can be all too easy to make a regretful mistake.
2. There Are Consequences to Violating Universal Laws
Like I stated before there’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct your life. The universe has laws like the law of cause and effect and also karma. You might not believe in karma Empowered Lady, and that’s alright. But you reap what you sew. You are in charge of your own life, and each choice you make is not unseen by the universe.
For more on universal laws, I talk about the law of attraction in this post on how to make a vision board.
3. What Kind of Person Are You?
I had to ask myself this. Am I a home-wrecker? Am I the type of person to be with a married man? I felt myself transitioning from a strong woman who would question everything to a more traditional passive role at work. Biology was taking over. My logic was shutting down.
In these moments it’s essential for you to get some fresh air. Re-evaluate who you are. Some people fall into an affair with a married man but you are different aren’t you Empowered Lady? Remain strong. Don’t compromise yourself.
4. Regret Lasts Forever
Empowered Lady, it’s important to remind yourself that choices have consequences. When you make a decision, it sticks with you. For the rest of your life. If I chose to act on that crush, I would have to live with the guilt forever. The guilt of ruining a marriage.
I once heard someone talk about regrets. They said if you regret something, the older you get, the worse it haunts you. You will feel differently about what you did at 27 when you are 60.
I didn’t want that to be me. I didn’t want to go through life knowing my actions caused someone else devastation.
5. Raise Your Standards
As much as you may not love this advice you have to raise your standards. When I heard this I felt a sting. I thought of the possibilities with Michael. Maybe eventually he’d get a divorce, and we could be together? I started imagining it. That’s very dangerous, Empowered Lady and I would not advise you to go there. Because then you become attached to the fantasy.
What I needed to do was raise my standards. Am I unconsciously falling into a passive role because I like the flattery and attention I was getting? Are my standards this low that I would potentially settle for a married man. I was available for so much more. For real love, Empowered Lady.
If you’re going through a similar experience, know that you are available for real love too.
Stand firm in your morals. Do not fall for any flattery or attention. You deserve to be courted by a man who is unattached. Are you the type to be with a married man? No. You aren’t.
Some things you can do that help with these situations are:
- Do not let your imagination run wild with what could be or of the two of you together. Fantasies only intensify the situation.
- Block any unwanted advances be it sexual or emotional
- Block the connection
- Remind yourself of your sparkling integrity and how valuable it is. Talk to someone you trust or mentor to help keep you grounded.
Empowered Ladies, have you had a crush on a married man? Has your integrity been tested? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Update June 2018: I’ve moved on with my life, got a new job and removed myself from the married man situation. Sometimes, that might be necessary to do. I can say I’m so happy I kept my integrity intact. I truly believe that is the most important thing. So to all you ladies out there, integrity trumps feelings.