Personal Integrity, Honesty, and Trust.

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people”. Spencer Johnson

“Every lie is two lies. The lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it”. Robert Brault

If you were stripped of everything that outwardly made you-you left standing would be your human essence. The person you truly are standing bare in the truth of you. This is an important component (if not the most important component) of self-concept. Our self-concept (belief about who we are at our core) drives our behaviors and actions toward self and other.

If you were stripped bare and left standing in the truth of you, would you like what you saw? Would you need to make changes? How could you go about these changes? Have there been any personal cost to you or to those you love because of the actions and behaviors caused by your core beliefs?

These are questions one might ask if they find themselves struggling with issues of personal integrity. They are not easy questions and most often support in taking this deeper look may be needed. And while there are many reasons as to why one might struggle in this area, finding the path to standing comfortably and safely in one’s own truth is true internal peace. A peace that cannot be replaced.

When I think of this multi layered, topic (a topic much broader than this article), I am often struck by the seemingly straightforward Parable of “The Scorpion and the Frog”. While at first look it seems a tragic tale of human nature it is full of wisdom regarding integrity, honesty, and trusting oneself. It seems it could apply to personal, relational, and societal circumstances. The parable with discussion questions follows.

The Scorpion and the Frog

A frog was hopping along the shore of a river looking for a place to cross. He came upon a scorpion sitting on the shore. “Hello, friend frog,” said the scorpion. “It appears you are looking to cross the river. I too want to cross. Would you mind carrying me?”

The frog was taken aback. “Why, if I let you on my back to cross the river, you’d sting me, and I would die. I don’t think I’ll do that.”

The scorpion immediately replied, “There is no logic to your concern. If I sting you and you die, I will surely die as well, since I can’t swim. I wouldn’t need a ride if I could swim.”

The frog thought a moment and then said, “Your logic makes sense. Why would you kill me if it would result in your death? Come along and climb on my back and we’ll cross this river.”

The scorpion climbed on the frog’s back and off they went to cross the river.

About halfway across the river, the scorpion raised its tail and stung the frog. The frog was both astounded and disconsolate. “Why did you sting me? Now I will die, and you will surely drown and die also.”

The scorpion replied, “I can’t help it. It’s who I am. It’s in my nature.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you believe the moral of this fable is? 2) Do you believe there are irrepressible instincts one is defenseless against? 3) What is the role of honesty, dishonesty. or integrity in this fable? 4) How was trust compromised in this fable? 5) Where does this fable take you in your thinking? 5) How can the teachings of the fable be applied to personal, relational, or societal issues? 6) What other thoughts or questions might you have upon reading this fable?

As always, I value your reading and welcome your reflections and insights.

LaDonna

Copyright Protected Material: © 2020 LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW. All rights reserved. Written content on this blog (Perspective on Trauma) is the property of the author LaDonna Remy, MSW, LICSW. Any unauthorized use or duplication without written permission of the author/ owner of this web log is prohibited. Excerpts or quotes may be shared in the event the author is fully cited with reference and direction to this blog.

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National Hotlines: 
Treatment Referral Helpline: (1-877-726-4727)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (1-800-273-8255)

Photo: Image found on Pixabay

Resources:

Web Based Resources: Kanarek, Jaret Silverman, Karen (2013) The Intellectual Standard. The Scorpion and The Frog: A False Narrative of Human Nature.https://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=tis

Books: Aesop Santore Charles (Illustrator) (2018) Aesop’s Fables: The Classic Edition. Applesauce Press on Simon and Schuster New York.

35 thoughts on “Personal Integrity, Honesty, and Trust.

  1. Girl LaDonna, your opening quotes and lead-in sentence to your message, “If you were stripped of everything that outwardly made you-you left standing would be your human essence” is spot on my friend! 🎯 But the scorpion’s reply after stinging the frog is priceless and so relevant. 🦂🐸 When people show you who they are, believe them! Wonderful thoughts for today! 👏🏼😍👏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LaDonna, your post has given us a reason to think. 🤔 You have given us a great moral to your story and I love the depth of what you said and how you made us ruminate about the examples and valuable lessons you shared. Thanks so very much my friend for teaching us something new and rewarding every time you post my dear!!! 🥰💖😍💝😘

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an interesting scenario. I think that, as humans, certain reflexes are automatic and we can’t control them, but we can use our prefrontal cortex to weigh out competing drives, something animals might not be able to do. In this case, the scorpion has sacrificed its long-term desire to live in favour of the short-term gratification of engaging in predatory behaviour. There may be many factors that contributed to that weighing-out process going the way it did, but in my mind, it’s a copout to say, “I can’t help it. It’s who I am. It’s in my nature.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree Ashley. Our ability to take ownership of our own struggles and do the deeper work required is so important. Thank you for your reflective comment. Have a wonderful week ahead 💗💗.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe, the scorpion forgot the big picture! Forgot he needed the frog to survive… He may have become short-sighted… it is interesting the nature taking over and canceling out wisdom! Great thought provoking post! The difference is, we have a capacity to change! So do they under the right training. just my opinion…not a scientific response

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I truly appreciate this response and perspective. I do think it’s important to think long term and consider the other. And, I wholeheartedly agree we have the capacity to change if we’re willing to do the work. Thank you for your response and have a wonderful week ahead 💗💗.

      Like

  4. As always, I appreciate how thoughtful and thought provoking your monthly posts are. I look forward to them.

    There are certainly many ways to view the fable of the Frog and the Scorpion. Viewing it from the perspective of a parent of a child with special needs – often related to exhibited challenging behaviour due to impulse control – I may offer a different take on this.

    The behaviour of the scorpion is definitely inexcusable and he used his “I can’t help who I am” as his reason. I often struggle with this with my T, who says things or does things (like hitting or raging) because of issues related to emotional regulation and impulse control (or lack thereof).

    So one hand, I have tremendous empathy for the scorpion. But I also see it from the perspective of the frog – in my case, the children and teachers who often bear the brunt of some of my son’s outburst.

    As a parent, I try to be my son’s external brain. We don’t make excuses for his behaviour but we know, sometimes they are linked to challenges related to his disability. So we don’t condone the behaviour but we respond to it with empathy and try to guide him to do better next time.

    So yah, a totally different take on the fable. But a timely one cuz I read this first last night after dealing with an incident at the school. Thankfully no one got poisoned in my case. 😆😂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ab, thank you for your thoughtful reflection. This is a truly empathetic and loving perspective. And I genuinely appreciate you and this insightful response. I hope all is well for you and yours 💗💗

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think sometimes–when we don’t tell the truth to ourselves–it’s just too painful to see and feel. But every time it’s possible to just state and name the truth there’s a freeing in the body. Lovely essay, LaDonna.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. LaDonna, I don’t think we are powerless to resist our impulses, but I do think that over time it may be likely that we will sometimes fail to control them. In assessing other people, I think you might want to be a little cautious about their known weaknesses.

    I liked the article and the quotes. It is good to think we might be able to change. AA is based on that idea, but many people have relapses.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is interesting to try and relate this fable to human beings’ actions. Like most others, I think people are different (barring they have no mental illness or psychological barriers) because people can change and make different choices.

    The scorpion’s comment reminds me of when people say something like, “it is what it is,” or when others try to convince some that they didn’t have a choice. People always have a choice, and if they’ve learned to live a bit more consciously, then perhaps they won’t continue stinging people.

    Thanks, as always, for making me think 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi, LaDonna, you are such a great teacher, suggesting self-questioning & sharing stories. I think some people go through life without understanding they can change “their nature.” (Or maybe it’s just easier for them not to change.) Which is truly sad, as relationships can be badly damaged or destroyed based on that excuse. Thanks for sharing your knowledge & concern for others. Enjoy the week ahead! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you LaDonna for your thought provoking post💕🌸 such a great way to conveying a moral or morals. To give someone the benefit of the doubt is choosing to believe that their intentions are honest and trusting that the person changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well the scorpion certainly reminds me of a person at my last job who sabotaged me after acting like he was supporting me. You can take many lessons here. Who should you trust? Why act with integrity if those around you don’t? Of course, there is always a witness to your behavior – yourself. I grew up with great role models – my Mother and Father. They taught me these positive traits through example, actions not words. The down side of acting honestly and with integrity is you can be taken advantage of. The upside is I want to respect myself, even if I am taken advantage of. It’s much easier dissociating from others and answering only to myself. It’s also easier to catch my own lies that way 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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