Principles Before Personality

on . Posted in A Woman's Point of View

By Lee Parker

For five years I attended Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. I have not had a drink for over 13 years and my success is partially due to the program of AA. With the help of my Creator and through the support I found in AA, I was able to remain sober.

One consistent saying I found in AA meetings was "principles before personality", which I have used to help me discern the correct path to take. Principles always give me the foundation for proper action and thought.

Think of some of the applications of this saying. If we put principles before personality, Bill and Hillary Clinton would be walking the streets because they have no principles. Most of our elected employees would be collecting unemployment and believe me, they would collect it because they are already accustomed to living off your money!

"Principles before personality" is a yardstick to apply to ALL situations. You can apply it in your own life as a gauge for your own behavior. Do you stand on principle when you have a negative interaction or do you go for the jugular and drag personality into the fracas?

Do you live your life from principle or do you accept platitudes and excuses when you do something questionable? Do you attack another's personality to cover-up for your lack of principle? Do you stand firm on "right is right and wrong is wrong" ("right" defined as not hurting another and "wrong" being the opposite)? Do your justify the manipulation of what is right, thinking that hurting someone "just a little" is acceptable?

The bottom line is that if you do not judge ourselves by the same criteria as you judge others, then you are a hypocrite. If you censure someone for stealing and then you steal, you are a hypocrite. If you don't "walk your talk" you become no better than that which you have judged.

If the American people demand that Bill Clinton, or anyone else, lives by principles, then we must demand no less form ourselves. Living by principle means that we cannot say one thing and do another. We cannot say that lying, cheating and/or stealing is wrong and then lie, cheat or steal! We cannot profess right actions and then live by wrong actions.

I would rather judge my own application of principles before I attack or judge another. If I demand the very best of myself then I feel comfortable demanding the best from everyone else. If I justify my behavior when it is questionable, then I become no better than the majority attitude of "do as I say, not as I do." There is never any honor in hypocrisy, so I encourage you to be as hard on yourself as you are on others.

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