Do you sometimes waver on what’s right and what’s wrong?

Maybe you think the definition of “what’s right” depends on the situation. For example, telling the truth might not work if this would cost you money.

Any of us, without exception, have been tempted to fudge on the truth. You know how this goes. You’ve just had a car accident and you want to deny you caused it. Or, you need a loan and you wonder if you should answer every question truthfully.

Having good morals and keeping yourself on the side of what’s right is always your best route. Why? If you can trust yourself, you can navigate most situations with confidence.

“My boss was worried upper management was going to fire all of us,” says a business executive we’ll call Anita. “My direct boss actually coached us in how to point blank lie.”

Anita felt sick and uneasy, because she’s been raised to do what’s right. Lying to keep her job was not going to work for her.

“Finally,” Anita says, “I told my boss I had a better plan.”

Anita explained to him that laying out the situation for those asking questions would work. “We’d simply tell the whole truth, the whole story, and ask our supervisors to tell us what they would do. They needed to follow our line of reasoning in our stressful situation.”

Anita was selected to speak for the group. It was a risk, but her boss let her take the lead with upper management.

“I explained that the choices we made would secure the good reputation of our company,” says Anita. “I told them that was more valuable than a one-time deal for making money. I walked them through the scenarios we faced, told them we wanted to act with integrity, and I told them I had no apologies to make.”

Her plan worked. Anita and her co-workers were commended by upper management. Her team kept their jobs.

Here are some reasons good morals can serve you well:

  • Other people will trust you. A person with a solid sense of right and wrong will find certain doors will open. Those around you have been watching your decisions over time.
  • You won’t have to second-guess yourself. If you can think, reason, and articulate what’s right, you’ll come across more powerfully. You’ll feel this inner strength in challenging situations.
  • You can tell if other people are honest. If you have excellent character, it’s easier to judge the character of others. We tend to gravitate to people who think like we do. If you know who is honest, this helps you build a family or friendship circle you can rely on.

While none of us have perfect friends or family, it’s easier to deal with others who have good morals. Without strong, confident people to rely on, your support system will be shaky.

“I like to study individuals,” says a man we’ll call Richard. “It’s amazing how much more relaxed I feel around moral people. I can ask them to help me with a project. I can ask them to watch my house while I’m on vacation.”

Richard says that we can judge others by the past decisions they’ve made. He emphasizes: “If I see someone who is hard-working, trying to pay their bills on time, and keeping their promises to others, I know they have a good heart.”

Trustworthy people lower our stress because they help keep the world in balance.

Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at usawellnesscafe.org.