If we want to be useful to others, we will need to understand how integrity manifests in their lives.
A good place to start is to look at where they are unwilling to compromise.
This tells us a lot about a person and what they value most.
It may be with time, money, or family.
Or, it could be with all or none of these.
An unwillingness to compromise shows us where a person’s boundaries are and, at the end of the day, integrity is about maintaining and protecting our boundaries.
We cannot be useful to others if we are constantly crossing their personal boundaries, if our words, actions, and demeanor compromise their integrity.
It is possible that, over time, with enough trust, their boundaries will expand to include more of what we want, need, or value, but this does not happen quickly or easily and it certainly does not happen by constantly pushing and pulling at their integrity.
Service begins with respect and an essential component of respect is honoring that which others value most.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.*
*Robert Van Valkenburgh’s black and white photography can be seen at My Darkness To Light
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