All systems tend towards degradation, and eventually decay and death over time. This is more or less the 2nd law of thermodynamics and it can be applied to both physical, and human systems.
What slows down this process of degradation is integrity, and while the physical aspect is easier to fathom, the integrity factor within humans is often a more elusive variable to define.
It can be quite difficult to measure what behaviour adds integrity to a relationship, and what acts as a destructive force. Being subjective creatures, we cannot empirically measure the effects, but we can observe the changes from a higher plane upon reflection, and decide whether the overall integrity is diminishing or increasing.
This isn't easy when you are caught up in the moment itself. Being inside a destructive, deteriorating situation does influence how you think, and how you deal with it.
The observer effect comes into play, and alters your ability to see things for how they really are, making you a confused student of your own circumstances.
How did I end up here?
In challenging times, when you are confronted by this breakdown of integrity and wondering how to deal with it, the resultant clash of ethics and morals can spin your head into an endless loop of inner doubts.
Even ethics and morals themselves becomes a foggy haze of bewilderment when integrity breaks down. The prescribed ethics of an organisation are always lofty and idealistic. Usually espousing teamwork, cohesion, and support.
But often when you observe how the people responsible for those diktats act in complete contradiction to their own mantra; with blame games, underhanded tactics, and each out for their own personal gain, you cannot help but be influenced by it.
Then what are the true ethics of that situation, the idealistic or realistic ones?
These external factors feed into our own inner moral compass, which can often point in many directions. So instead of your own morals acting as a shining beacon in dark times, they become an even more confusing maze of questions, suggestions, and conflicting thoughts.
This all leads to a lot of mental pollution. You can't think straight, you don't know right from wrong, and definitely are not in a good frame of mind to make correct decisions.
There are a number of factors which are telltale signs of this kind of psychological conflict:
- Increased anxiety and incoherent thinking.
- Hostility and falsehoods, both passive and overt, floating your way.
- A lack of motivation and increasing stress for no definable reason.
- Outbursts over trivial matters, with your mouth being used before your brain.
- A futility about your ability to affect change, and lower energy levels.
- You may also start drinking and smoking a lot more.
- Not sleeping well, perhaps with 4am bad dreams and spending the day wishing you could sleep again.
Thinking Through It
So, your brain is a mess, ethics and morals are confusing, and you are low on energy.
What do I do?
Given that thinking is hard, the simplest solution is not to think through it, and quit. Walk away from the situation and time will heal the wounds. It'll be like it never happened if you can sever the link. For some situations in life quitting is the best option, allowing you to put your efforts into more rewarding pursuits.
But, what if quitting is also going against your morals in a particular situation? What if that's not who you want to be?
I'm not a quitter!
Then you have a problem, or opportunity, depending on who you are listening to.
Set Yourself Up For Succes
The first step is to define who you want to be. Cut away all the external factors, and just focus on the kind of actions and thoughts you want to be part of who you are. This has to be the first step, because without it, your lack of self-knowledge will guide you along false paths. More thought loops, more head spins, no remedy!
The answers are usually lurking at the back of your mind, but are swamped in the daily grind that engulfs us all. Or maybe paralyzed by the clashing of thoughts within. To let them come to the fore you need to set yourself up for success. But how do you do that?
Well, I find starting with the body helps. When the mind is a mess exercise does wondrous things for your ability to think straight. It helps burn away the negativity, and lets your brain pick its way through the fog as you churn out the miles, lift those weights, or dance until your muscles ache.
No matter what exercise you find acts as your 'therapist', do it, no matter how little energy you think you have.
Use your body to lead your mind
Simply forcing yourself to act contrary to your lethargic feelings will put you in a better frame of mind, and of course this is a little bit of "fake it 'til you make it".
But it's all part of setting yourself up for success. Before you have even defined what that is, or how you go about it, putting yourself in the right frame of mind is a necessary prerequisite.
Once you take the first step along that path, the rest will follow if you keep on track. The forcing part is about being hard on yourself, not accepting a backward step, or letting people get in your way.
Do something for others
Surround yourself with the right kind of people. Ones who you can talk to, trust, and also do something good for. Maybe cook them dinner, or offer to help them for nothing in return.
This positivity will reenforce itself within you and help you stay going in the right direction. Especially if you have to put some effort into it.
Much like exercising the body, you also need to exercise positivity, even when you don't feel like it.
All the while, your brain will be unravelling the entangled strings, helping you see the right path forward. Driven on by the power of the positivity you are bringing into your life, the decisions you make will be the right ones for the kind of person that you want to become.
Going For It
The final step, should it ever come to it, might be to make a big decision, or take a chance on something far outside your comfort zone.
If you find yourself in such a situation, take this simple piece of advice; "that which is falling should also be pushed", apply your own thermodynamics, and light a fire under your actions.
If you've taken a decision, and know it's the right one, go for it wholeheartedly and follow through with action.
Life is too short for observing relational physics at a slow pace, and your positive actions will only attract other positives to you. You'll be surprised how easy it is once you put yourself on the right track.
Positivity will flow back in your direction, and your life will improve with it. In the end you'll be the author of your own success, and will be a better person for taking those bold steps that align with your integrity, and improve the content of your mind