Look at yourself in the mirror once in a while.

Can you sit there and just look at yourself?

You will come to find that if there is something burning in your conscious, then you will turn away from that mirror pretty fast. I do this every day. It has nothing to do with arrogance, cockiness, or anything of that matter, but rather a check to see if I did everything that day that I stand for and try to live up to.

I stare myself down in the mirror and ask myself if I gave my best and if I am learning how to become the man I want to be.

Tonight, I am talking about having integrity.

Everywhere you turn something has happened where someone lost their integrity, cheated, quit when things got hard, or manipulated someone else. But for me, integrity goes a lot deeper than just doing the right thing.

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.

When you dont have an audience, are you acting like the person you really are? What is also really important is being the person you have told the people you loved you are. Loved ones dont get mad at you for making mistakes, they get mad because you fail to be the best person you possibly can be. Integrity is a fundamental, unbendable and an absolutely concrete rule that I attempt to live by.

Here’s why.

If you lose your integrity, you are nothing.

You essentially told yourself your not worth it and you will take the easy route out when things get tough. I really did lose my integrity once, and it made me feel awful. I got into a situation where I lied about who I was, tried to change myself on the spot, and tried to do whatever I could just to make that person happy. I did this all in one night, and I was absolutely ashamed for it. I will never ever do that again.

Part of having integrity is also admitting to when you are wrong about things. And my god have I been wrong about things. For me, the hardest part is always admitting when I am wrong. It’s really something that I need to work on, but it is the right thing to do despite how hard it is. I know that when I am wrong, the best thing I can do for myself is fix ASAP. Take a deep breath and apologize.

I am becoming the man I want to be, one deep breath at a time.

There are plenty of times you can lose yourself. When tests get hard, when you do something wrong, but most importantly, maintaining your integrity is crucial when life gets hard. I know it posted it before, but the one quote that I have lived by when things are really hard is by Eleanor Roosevelt…

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I am going to tell you the thing I fear the most in this world. The thing I fear the most is being left alone. I fear friends leaving, people leaving, situations leaving my hands, and most of all people I really love leaving.

In the past, I have tried to hold on as much as I could and it would just suffocate things and eventually I would just hurt myself in the end. As Roosevelt said, what is the thing I am most afraid to do? Let go. The hardest thing I have done was willingly let someone go.

It goes against every fiber in my body. However, being that person that can’t take goodbye is not the person I want to be anymore. More importantly, I want to stay a good person, and I would regret a lot of things if I even bothered to think about venturing into a place where I could hurt the person I care about most. Its easy to say hurtful things when a situation goes south, but really, that gets you nowhere. You always hear of people saying “I said something that I will always regret saying.” Well, theres two ways to avoid that happening.

One, think before you say something and don’t react emotionally but rationally.

Two, if you are a person of integrity, you will maintain that integrity and stay true to yourself, even while  you are emotionally taxed.

It is the easiest thing in the world to keep on going on thinking that you are doing just fine and don’t want to change anything. I call this “settling.” Never settle, never be fully satisfied with who you are. I assure you, once you think you are perfect, you are lost. Everyone has things that they need to change. The people that really become something in life embrace the fact that they need to change. Some people go their whole lives thinking that they lived a good life, but no one shows up to their funeral. I know it’s a little morose, but its true.

I don’t want to be on my deathbed and have no one around me. Furthermore, I don’t want to have lived my life, and not have branded my love on people. It’s something that I stand for. No matter what happens, I wan’t people to know that I loved them and I cared about them. Everything could fall apart for me, but the people I love will still know I do. Fact. Considering all that I have been through, I am starting to make that journey.

One of the greatest complements I have ever been given is someone sending me that song when things were hard and saying, “Evan…that song reminds me a lot of you.” I will never forget that. Ever.

“Just ask him how he did it; he’ll say pull up a seat
It’ll only take a minute, to tell you everything
Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I Love You
Go to work, do your best, don’t outsmart your common since
Never let your prayin’ knees get lazy
And love like crazy”

There are a few days that go by where I don’t listen to that song. What an amazing way to live your life. Yeah, things will get tough, but you always will have the love in your heart and if your lucky enough, the person who loves you more than anything next to you. I am sure some people have called me crazy for some of the ways I have handled things or done things, but I have faith in myself. That is what the song is about. Having faith in yourself no matter what.

People are always going to tell you that you can’t do something. But if its in you  to put in the blood, sweat, and tears, then go get it.

So why am I writing about this?

I know I definitely go off on tangents when I start writing. But thats alright…this is more of a stream of consciousness blog.

I have never been great at writing analytical papers (until my English teacher in H.S. sat down with me 3 days a week and we worked on harnessing my passion into structured emotion). I am good at feeling. What my heart feels, I know that’s what makes sense to me. I have never been a patient person…ever. If I am not doing well in sports, I am impatient and work as hard as I can to get where I need to be. If I am sorry about something, I want to apologize and make good as soon as I can.

But sometimes, things don’t work that way.

Not everything can be solved right away, especially when it comes to peoples feelings. I know for a fact that I wanted to recover as soon as possible, and people wanted me to get better as fast as I could and forget about the hell that I went through, but that process took a long long time. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about what happened every single day, but writing hundreds of pages and countless talks with people that I love around me, brought me back into the light and made me such a better person than I was last time.

I am going to make more mistakes in my life, I know that to be certain. I am going to feel pain, happiness, love, and every other emotion in the book.

But unlike myself in the past, I am now fueled by love rather than…well, whatever the hell I was fueled by before.

I finish this my looking at my reflection in the computer screen…I’m going to do alright.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project