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Honesty time — how tightly wrapped are your morals?

First post and it's a deepie, but I'm interested: I've grown up an atheist so have never worried that there's someone 'watching'... And to be honest, I've lived my life amorally — I have a strong moral code of fairness and kindness, but only where it suits me, and until recent years was quite unconcerned about being a thief, a liar and a self-centred manipulator.

Alright, much of that may stem from my psychological makeup after a weird childhood, and I'm not okay with being any of those things these days as I'd rather be proud of the person I am. But I realised that it had crept up on me and I'd accommodated it, as I had no fear of ever being 'found out'.

I'm interested to know if any of you have bent your morals to suit yourself, or if you've always been 'good'.

By DaveMania
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I was thirteen when I became disillusioned with religion and my mom was a non-practicing Christian. She taught me at a young age that you can't teach someone how to be compassionate, considerate, caring, understanding, and empathetic you develop morals by trying to see from another's perspective and that takes practice.

The church may preach about morals but don't explain how to develop and achieve them so many followers fake it. I'll give an example...A few years back a neighbor of mine was a devout Christian who went to church regularly and was very involved with their many programs. She constantly talked about being a compassionate, understanding and empathetic person. Her daughter and my niece were playing with some of the neighborhood children outside. My neighbor saw one child that she didn't approve of and invited all the children into her home and very specifically excluded this one child. When I asked why, she told me she thought the parents were riffraff and didn't want her daughter around any of their children. I called my niece to come home and invited the outcast child in to play.

I have seen many examples of fake morals and I am constantly reminded of my mom and the lesson of her words. I practice and I try not to be judgmental. I like to think that I now succeed more often than I fail. smile001.gif

Betty Level 7 May 17, 2018

You've provided an amazing example of what is means to be "compassionate, considerate, caring, understanding, and empathetic". Judgement is a profound example of "fake morals". Those who hold themselves at a higher moral standard, rarely reflect morality in it's true form. How can one have a higher moral standard without empathy and compassion? Thank you for your words of wisdom.


The appreciation belongs to my mom, it was her wisdom that guided me. smile001.gif


I have always had a strong sense of fairness. I'll never get rid of it, because it defines who I am.

Infoguy211 Level 8 May 17, 2018

I'm afraid that my morals are more tightly wound than I think is beneficial.

I wish I could, "go with the flow," more, but it's just not in me.

Donotbelieve Level 8 May 17, 2018

Never be anything that you are not. Especially when it comes to morals.

@Infoguy211 Well, ain't that good to hear, cause I couldn't be different if I tried.


Being honest and straightforward is so much easier and definitely less stressful than the alternative. If you have respect for your fellow human, you won't want to steal or lie or hurt them in anyway

Badrummer2112 Level 3 May 17, 2018

I know it makes me feel bad when I do something that causes other people to feel bad. So it’s beneficial for me to do good things rather than bad. In a way it’s selfish, but that’s ok in my book.

KenG Level 6 May 17, 2018

Yep that's it in a nutshell. It's like the path of least resistance...it's your default...Same here.

I hear you. It feels so good to be kind and generous to others.


I do what I think is right, but that can be a little off what I suspect is good. Example:I don't lie to people as a rule but lying to idiot's at work to get thing's done could be acceptable, especially they're the problem in the 1st place. Its 2 wrongs don't make a right vs 2 insignificant wrongs getting the job done at no extra cost. Life isn't simple. Morality can't be rigid.
My morality has built up over years, I look back at some decisions I've made with regret.

Stealthbeard Level 5 May 17, 2018

I don't play into the concepts of "good" and "evil". I think the moral code that we live by has very much to do with other. How we treat other human beings. The "moral code" is subjective, but adheres to respect for others existence. I don't know if I could bend my morals to suit myself, and I most certainly don't think I've always been "good".

Stacey48 Level 8 May 17, 2018

I like that. smile001.gif


Everyone bends their morals. If they don't they are lyi thing about it or not open minded or inteligent enough to know that they do.

MsAl Level 7 May 17, 2018

Totally agree. We are all on hypocrites on varying levels.

First off, no I don't.

Explain exactly to me how you'd know what each person's moral code is to know that "everyone bends their morals"? This is another bullshit blanket statement that you can't possibly back up. Not everyone does what you do, because I know I don't, and that doesn't make me a liar, unintelligent, or close-minded.

I would however put money down that you bend your morals on a frequent basis and want to justify it by saying everyone else does it too. You know, the same thing that lots of shitty people say to justify their own guilt, and hey you've even got a few backers which is also unsurprising.

I think your personal justification is much more likely and common than you knowing the moral code and actions of every other person on Earth.

I've never met a perfect person and wouldn't want to. All humans make mistakes and do things they regret. The better ones admit to it.

@MsAl Sticking to your morals doesn't make you a "perfect person". Far from it, but if you can't even stick to your own guide lines then you're not even trying. You're not better for admitting your moral code is irrelevant.


Steering clear of some horrible childhood errors that I still stress over, too much... I started out fairly tightly wound. When I was in my 20's, I'd've described myself as a homophobe (and proud of it). I was a grammar nazi. I thought there was ONE way to use English and that was it. I would also have to add that my thoughts and ideas on race, while not vocalized, if you will, were not healthy for having been razed by a father who just didn't see race and told very off color jokes, who would say things that were in support of "red lining' (the practice of lending money to affluent neighborhoods at one rate, and either not lending, or lending at disadvantageous rates, to less affluent neighborhoods) neighborhoods, white flight, and the forced suppression of wealth caused by same. It wasn't that he (or I) were overtly racist but we were among the majority of privileged folks who simply didn't see that they WERE racist in their support of behavior that... once seen is readily noted as being... just wrong and truly racist in a passive way (not trying to get sympathy, or say that it's ok, it's not, just being honest in that we were both, are in my case, opposed to organizations such as the KKK and Nazis but, talked in ways that didn't oppose these sorts of issues... and I will admit to this and apologize where necessary for my behavior when I was young).,

As I grew, the first bit of breakage was to realize that Latin is a dead language (as are a few others that are spoken but only, truly, in scholarly circles, not in societal circles). A dead language is a language that is not spoken by a large enough group to 'grow' and modify with advances in society or technology. Thus, you won't, or are highly unlikely to, talk about computers in Latin.

This caused me to think of English (and other 'live' languages) different. Being alive, they grow, and alter and thus the rules of grammar and usage will and do change and do so in a natural, holistic, way as society and technology (at the least) change. Not least of which for things like a Googol, a larger number being needed or "discovered" and the name of same entering regular parlance. When I was young, speaking of a Billion was rare, now we speak of Trillions fairly commonly.

This caused my inner grammar nazi to evolve and recognize that there is formal language, and informal (or street) language. I still push for formal language to be learned, to be used properly and for it to be used in certain circles and used well in those circles AND to change, very slowly, and only at need in those circles. Those circles are places like the News, academia, and legal circles (which would include politics/diplomacy). These are circles that truly need very clear and well understood language to communicate complex ideas and have maximal understanding of same.

I joined the Military in my mid late 20s and was forced to interact with people of all sorts of persuasions. Those who were more devout and those less. People of color and people who were as colored as I (not at all). I saw how the military broke us all down into one simple unit: man, and built us up into: Man/Soldier. We were equals... mostly. After the military, I had a few experiences (still military related) that further opened my eyes to racism. I was the subject of what some would, incorrectly, call 'reverse' racism in that my NCO proceeded to give only men of color rank. I didn't notice this until the colored men of my unit raised a class action suit against the Sgts of color, who were doing this, in our unit (this was just before, and after, I exited service). It caused me to watch for inequalities, injustices and to notice when people were being treated differently and to be open, less tightly wound, to concepts of racism and justice. Later, as I trained to become a teacher, this knowledge was deepened and now I am happy to consider myself a SJW... granted, I still consider myself a work in progress... but, aren't we all? Leastwise, until we die?

Finally, I've always been CIS Gendered. Male, Heterosexual and interested in females, though not averse to males. When I was young, I was trepidatious about homosexual males and concerned that maybe something untoword would happen if I were to associate with them. Because they were a complete unknown to me and I was interested in women, not men and thus NOT interested in having that attitude changed... not realizing that it won't change. Again, I have associated with people who are sexually wound more tightly than I am, and are radically unwound... and that association, that talking to and socializing with people of all walks opened my eyes. Some of this I did get, also, in my training to become a teacher and I have progressed to where I realize I am what I am, and there is nothing to fear from anyone who is what they is. smile001.gif We can all coexist and be friends... it's taken time though (and it didn't hurt to have good friends along for the ride).

No small part of this gender awareness occurred in a class when I was training to teach. In this particular class the teacher came up to me, knowing I was a vet, and asked if I would be leaving class when the next subject came up. I said no... apparently, she had a vet who was too tightly wound for that next class. What was the next class? She brought in people who were LGBTQ and had them talk about issues related to same. One was powerful. Came in presenting male, with a baseball cap, big biceps, coveralls, boots, etc. He began to speak about how he was angry as a youth, hyper male. Football player who lettered. Constantly getting into fights. Drinking heavily... and never happy. As he was talking, he began to strip. He told of an epiphany, in which he realized that his hyper sexuality was... well, exaggerated and very cis... and he realized that he wasn't male, or at least didn't think of himself that way. As soon as he had that realization, he wasn't upset all the time. He gave himself permission to be soft and gentle, to be female and... became happy. As he stripped, it was a bit like someone emerging from a cocoon.... a woman, in fact, emerging from a male cocoon. She was, at that time, in the process of gender reassignment and she was happy.

At first I thought, why did we need to learn this. The lesson of the other vet who could not, would not, handle this was my answer. I was aiming to teach. If I was too tightly wound, and I had a child in my classroom who identified as NOT what they seemed to be... how was I to react? We have a lot of anecdotal, and research, evidence that shows forcing an individual to fit YOUR definition of what they are usually leads to someone (usually most everyone) being unhappy. Better to gently guide and let them discover who they are and be happy, unlike the emerging woman from the lesson who had so much anger in her life as a male. And IF I were too tightly wound, I might not be able to do that... better to learn to loosen those bindings about myself here and now, enough that I can "do no harm" as a teacher (at worst).

All of this caused me to do a lot of soul searching and to, internally, discuss who I was and who I am and thus to do some 'adjustments' to my 'bindings' as I didn't want to be that tightly wound. I am still CIS, and I am ok with that. I have friends who are... all kinds of things and I am ok with that. My only real concern here is that of finding an attractive woman only to find, too late, that she has more equipment than I prefer... I intend to act respectfully, gently, in that situation and I know, everyone would say that I'll know before we get there... I just like to ponder and trap, to think ahead, all eventualities and to prepare myself to act appropriately... Wish I'd done more of this when I was young.

So, how tightly wound am I? Loosely enough to be happy with who I am... though, I am still a grieving work in progress. smile001.gif

Gnarloc Level 7 May 17, 2018

Insightful. I commend you for recognizing your mistakes and turning them into lessons that allowed you to achieve a potential that otherwise would not have been possible to realize. You have much to be proud of and you have gained a wisdom that has and will serve you well. smile001.gif

@Betty Thank you, MIss Boop? smile001.gif

Heh... Freudian slip? Razed versus raised...


I shoplifted when I was kid. Started at about age 7. Comics. Marbles. Silly String. Candy. Whatever I thought I could snag right then, for free. Off and on, not too bad. I have some stories, though. One very close call, but got away with it. I stopped all that foolishness around age 14. Except a couple times at 17.

These days, I just try to be the best me that I can. I love interacting with people. I don't ever think about in terms of morals, though. I just do whatever it is I'm gonna do, and I don't consider any of it immoral.

I'd say we've all bent our morals at some point, though.

MollyBell Level 7 May 17, 2018

My morals seem to be stuck to me like glue..its from how I was taught and raised..it could have been different but it wasn't.. that's the way my family..my extended family my teachers most of my friends and my community acted..so I have this Deep set of cultural morals..many of which are out dated..some of which are silly.

But .. here is the thing! Not wanting to spend my whole life as a goody twoshoes I have occasionally stepped outside my own adopted moral boundaries but it hardly ever sits well with me..and my conscience follows me around like a hurt lost and blind puppy dog. I do try to be a bad boy sometimes..but I never truly pull it off. Sometimes morals and principles are like a ball and chain made of elastic bands...they keep pulling you back to your better self. I fell pathetic sometimes and fiercely proud other times.

Hitchens Level 8 May 17, 2018

I am a free agent and I live my life to enjoy my life. I have 4 gatekeepers to my moral and ethical life. I love ALL my brothers and sisters in my human family. I strive to always treat others as I would want to be treated. I strive to never do to others what I would not want done to me. I strive to never cause or do harm to anyone.

jlynn37 Level 8 May 17, 2018

Raising kids made the emphasis on morals, ethics, come into sharp focus for me. I have to lead by example. Period. And I am in fact moral and ethical in my code.
The one glaring exception being that the 3 of us have on several occasions been guilty of 'stealing art' - unable to pay the price of admission for theater, music, art - we always find a way in.

AmiSue Level 8 May 17, 2018

I am purposefully moral. I was raised atheist with a "do on to others" kind of morality. I did some shoplifting and some manipulating. I realized that I didn't want to live that way, not because I'd get caught, but because it is wrong. I had taken something from a former friend and I looked her up and confessed and gave it back. try to be honest and up front with people. I find that my attitude makes me a victim to people who manipulate. I'm getting better at identifying those people. The world would be a better place if we were all good to each other. We can all do our bit.

Stephanie99 Level 7 May 17, 2018

I like the term coined here...."fluid morality". I think that's accurate. Life is fluid. Situations are fluid. I've lied to save the feelings of others...and to save my own ass when needed. Never felt guilty about any of it.
But I have empathy for those around me and treat them as I would be treated. With respect and honor.
I must say though...in regards to lying...the older I get the less I lie! I just lay that old truth out there like a boss...lol. Deal with it! Fix your own feelings!

Freespirit64 Level 8 May 17, 2018

I have always tried to treat other people well and fairly. I genuinely like most people and am empathic enought to suffer for haming others.... I try to be a good person instead of having a rigid code.

arnies Level 6 May 17, 2018

Like you I used to lie and cheat. Then it dawned on me that it was just so much easier to be straight. Its like when you have made a mistake constructing something. You can try and bodge it or you can take it apart and do it right. You will find that most times its easier and quicker to do the latter.If you dont lie you dont have to remember what you said. If you don`t cheat then you get the thrill of winning all to yourself.
Having said this I also made a vow not to do anything illegal or immoral for less than £5 smile009.gif

273kelvin Level 8 May 17, 2018

I try to be honest in all my dealings because I like people to be honest with me. I once thumped a guy that had caused my daughter to get into serious trouble at college. And then swore to the police that I hadn't. His word against mine so I got off. I would probably do the same again.
My moral code in general is to do to others as you would have them do to you. And If I did what that guy did I would expect to get a thumping.

Paul_Clamberer Level 6 May 17, 2018

The one among us who does not admit to having had moral lapses would be the least honest of all. When we do have those lapses, it is common to make excuses to try to justify why it happened. Truth is it is very hard controlling your animal instincts 100 percent of the time.

bobhoff59 Level 7 May 18, 2018

{ I have a strong moral code of fairness and kindness, but only where it suits me }
That is a contradiction.
Sounds more like a code for immoral selfishness. Our morals come to us mainly through genetic an psychological predispositions from being in a social species. It often boils down to "do unto others", which we see first put in writing in ancient Hinduism and later copied into many belief systems.

For my morals, I am free to do anything I choose. And I choose not to murder, rape, steal, or to lie in ways that cause harm to others. I choose to stop on red lights, pay my taxes, and to help those in need with no thought of reward or even a thanks, because that is who I choose to be.
Also I have no need to have others think and belief as I do because I know they walk their own paths for their own reasons, sometimes being misguided as I sometimes have been. And so yes, I have done things in the past I know were not very moral, but over the years have steadily become more enlightened to behave myself more.

Silverwhisper Level 7 May 18, 2018

Oh, absolutely — the selfishness. I can honestly say I have been, for much of my life, an absolutely awful person (not hyperbole — I know stuff that no one else ever may) who has successfully presented himself as a 'nice guy'. Yet I love my friends and my family and would do anything for anyone in need. I'm a big old mess of contradiction.

Last few years though, I've developed an understanding that I'd be a ton happier if I was more the person I'd LIKE to be, rather than the person I seem to WANT to be. And so started the long process of stripping down and rebuilding.

@DaveMania Sounds like you are on the usual main path and the more life experience you get, and the more you do that self discovery and self-awareness, you will be more the person you want to be. Good luck on your adventure.


I also have an atheist background & never had a god . My mother was Manic and Brutal, my Father, Depressive and weird like a boxer on the ropes.

I lied a lot didn't do any of the other things just lied whether I had to or not -

At some point I realised that it wasn't good for me and I decided to tell the truth all the time unless it would hurt me to do so - I was a really strange child older than my years and nobody really knew how to deal with me -

These days as an old lady I feel obliged to not be so forthright and to be a bit more political about what I say and to whom. My partner is straight as a die and doesn't mind my truths and he also tutors me to understand how to get out of situations with no unpleasantness.

jacpod Level 8 May 17, 2018

There is Right, and there is Wrong, and most of all, None of My Business!

AnneWimsey Level 8 May 17, 2018

definitely bent my morals.

sassygirl3869 Level 9 May 17, 2018

Morality is something we use when convenient and toss aside when it aint.
Being 'good' ? Now yer talking relative concepts.
I've been called a dream come true to absolute evil, and everything in between.
What's good. Well, this coffee is.

Slappy_Longarms Level 7 May 17, 2018

I'll add that you can change. Plenty of folks have a....shall we say.....pragmatic....past. Coming to terms with it can be difficult.
For me, accepting that like everyone else, I did what I did because I thought I had to, works.


Morals are not something you work on because you want to feel better about yourself or be liked more.

Ellatynemouth Level 8 May 17, 2018
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