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Truth or consequences

I think a lot of us intend to act out of complete integrity, but have you noticed that sometimes integrity gets sidelined by “reasons”? I think I stumbled upon a character “flaw” in myself I’d like to fix. Perhaps you can relate.

I have been needlessly repeating a particular thought over the past few years, and I want to be over it, so I thought I’d finally investigate it. I have learned that when something tugs at us or even just whispers, it’s good to take notice. There is probably something we need to learn or explore.  

The thought was about a boss I had that always used the word “irregardless” instead of the proper term, “regardless.” My husband told me to correct him — that he made a fool of himself every time he used the incorrect term. (To add “ir” to a word that is already negative makes the word a double negative, which drives grammarians nuts.)

Over a history of many years, I never did correct him. Why? My mind had it set up that to correct him would be to belittle him. Even with years of leadership experience and modeling, I fell into the typically female “don’t hurt anyone’s feelings if you can help it” mode. Did I serve him or not?

I know that I would want someone to correct me if I were making a mistake as long as it was correction with good intention. In truth, the flaw I detect in myself is that I withheld correction for fear of a potential unwanted consequence. I acted out of fear that I would make him uncomfortable or offend him. I told myself I didn’t want to “edit the moment” when he was making a larger point.

As it turns out, “irregardless” has been added to certain dictionaries as a non-standard use of the term regardless, so no one will flog you these days for using the double negative. However, if the “offender” worked for me, I certainly would have pointed out the proper term. Regarding not correcting my boss, was I avoiding it out of integrity, or was I just a “weenie”  in not mentioning the “acceptable” terminology? What would you have done?

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