How can we judge somebody’s moral compass?
Is it just subjective?
The truth is that there are definite and clear ways to assess the strength of somebody’s moral compass and I’m going to take a look at them here.
First up: any person with a strong moral compass is honest.
Do they never tell a lie?
That’s a stretch.
But if they do lie, they regret it and they try to make up for it.
The person with a strong moral compass avoids lies and does their best to tell the truth as much and consistently as possible.
Being a dishonest person is ultimately a drag on the liar and on everyone they impact.
People with a strong moral compass don’t traffic in that kind of nonsense.
It’s very hard to have any strong moral compass without self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the basis of any true morality and action-based principles.
If you just follow the rules you may do everything right, but it will be based only in a rote imitation rather than discernment and personal authenticity.
Everybody with a strong moral compass has internalized their decisions and behavior, rather than only performing the outer actions that concord with what they or others consider morally right.
Next up? Empathy.
This is the ability to walk in somebody else’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from.
People with a strong moral compass do their best to be empathetic.
They know that even if you haven’t been in the position somebody else is in, the least you can do is lend them an ear and try to see their point of view.
The world could certainly do with a lot more empathy.
Sincerity is the next key characteristic of anybody with a strong moral compass.
If you don’t mean what you say and do, you might as well not bother.
The person who hews closely to their moral compass speaks with sincerity and acts out of true principle.
If somebody with a strong moral compass tells you he will always be there for you, he will.
If a doctor with a strong moral compass tells you she’s going to do everything she can to help you beat your illness, she will.
This connects up to the next point:
People with a strong moral compass are all about follow-through.
They prefer to underpromise and over-deliver.
Follow-through is so important in every area of life.
A parent who tells their children they will do something and doesn’t starts to lose respect in their eyes.
A partner who says they will be there always and then disappears for long stretches of time ends up contributing to the fracturing of the relationship.
All the strong values and sentiments in the world can’t make up for a lax approach to life.
People with a strong moral compass have dedication in what they do and don’t let up when things get hard.
Think of a police detective trying to bring justice to a family who lost their mother in a senseless murder.
He’s passionately dedicated to finding the truth, but the evidence becomes scant and bureaucracy piles up, so he puts it last in his to-do list and the unsolved case drags on.
No matter how much he might care, he doesn’t show it.
Another detective, by contrast not only cares and wants to solve the case, but also has consistent dedication in solving it and coming up with answers.
This makes all the difference!
Supportiveness is another must-have when it comes to a moral compass.
No matter how good your intentions are, when the rubber meets the road and somebody is in trouble, what do you do?
The person with a moral compass is a rock you can lean on.
They’re a survivor who cares about others and is willing to genuinely help out.
8) Romantic commitment
There’s a time to get real, and people with a strong moral compass don’t fake it.
If they like somebody for real and want a serious relationship they will be open about this.
They don’t make false promises or lead people on for sex.
They also don’t drag themselves into relationships they don’t really want out of fear of being alone or of being unkind.
They are true to themselves in love and only ask the same of their partner.
9) Avoidance of the victim mentality
The victim mentality is very seductive.
It convinces us that not only are we the most important of all, but that what’s happened to us is more grievous than others can imagine.
We have the unique victimhood that gives us our identity and power.
But the problem is it just feeds into a self-defeating deep loop of disempowerment and obsession.
People with a strong moral compass understand and respect the pain of victimhood. But they never cling to the victim mentality in themselves or encourage it in others.
10) Red lines they won’t cross
Everyone with a strong moral compass has red lines they won’t cross.
These red lines differ by person and culture.
Members of some faith communities would rather die than deny their faith or blaspheme.
Others have red lines about harming another human being, dishonesty, stealing or cruelty to animals and harm to the environment.
What are your red lines you won’t cross no matter what?
Is objective morality reality possible?
The deeper debate over the subjectivity or relativism of morality will continue to rage.
But at least a certain amount of objective morality is possible.
As the above traits indicate, people with a strong moral compass have certain lines they don’t cross and certain standards they do their best to uphold.
These decisions and the adherence to a moral compass creates many beneficial and empowering ripple effects, whereas those without a strong moral compass invariably create unnecessary suffering and confusion for themselves and those around them.
Call me old-fashioned, but that’s as much proof as any that right and wrong aren’t just a fiction of our imagination.