A compass tells you what direction you’re going and keeps you from getting lost in the wild.
A moral compass is similar: it tells you what the right or least bad thing to do is in a given situation and keeps you from getting lost.
Of course, not all of us have a strong moral compass, and some of us have drifted from following our moral compass as we once did.
But for others, their strong moral compass still keeps them mostly on track and dedicated to doing what’s right.
Here are the top things people with a strong moral compass never do.
1) Cheat on somebody
Nobody has a perfect record in love.
Even high school sweethearts who get happily married have their off days and their fights.
But people with a strong moral compass don’t cheat.
They have heartbreaks, they may get cheated on, but they don’t do the cheating.
It’s not how they want to live and not something they want to live with.
Clearly there are relationships and romance that aren’t working out or even where the other party involved is the one who has done wrong.
This is the reality, but a person of integrity never tries to use a problem or the poor choices of somebody else to justify their own hurtful actions.
If they’re not in love or it’s not working out, they break up instead of being unfaithful.
Cheating is a red line they don’t cross.
2) Harm an innocent
Ask a random person on the street: nobody would admit to harming innocent people.
Who would do that? Who would want to?
Well, the problem is that hurting innocent people is not always obvious or in your face.
You don’t have to steal someone’s purse to harm them.
You might have just honked angrily at an old lady and shouted at her in traffic, ruining her day, or ignored your daughter when she came home crying from school and made her feel abandoned.
Harming innocent people is sometimes as much about the ways we’re not there for people as the ways we actively aggress against them.
But this is a red line that people with a moral compass never do.
If they’re angry in traffic they breathe it out.
If they’ve had a long day and their daughter’s sad they promise her they’ll talk in just a minute and do their best to make that happen.
3) Blame a victim
Victim blaming is, unfortunately, very common.
There are many reasons for it, but it’s nothing new.
I experienced it myself after being bullied in middle school, called into the principal’s office with one of my tormentors.
The result? He said he was under stress and our parents nodded sympathetically.
The principal empathized with him and looked awkwardly at me, clearly more interested in the bully’s wellbeing and sob story.
“Well, try to get along.”
This isn’t just something out of a movie. It happens every day.
Throughout history there have been people who are eager to take the easiest route possible.
And the easiest route is generally to blame the victim.
People with a strong moral compass don’t do this. It’s weak and disgusting to blame a victim.
4) Play the victim
Next up in the things people with a strong moral compass never do is play the victim.
They could do it, but they don’t.
Because playing the victim is addictive, and it’s also manipulative and cowardly.
Even if you get what you want, you lose respect for yourself.
Being a victim is one thing, and it hurts and should never be excused away.
But playing or exploiting the role of being a victim is something else entirely. People of strong moral fiber don’t do it.
5) Start drama
Drama hits all of us from time to time.
You could be a perfectly no-drama woman but suddenly your husband wants to divorce you or your teen son is having a crisis.
That drama wasn’t caused by you, and dealing with it is necessary.
But as a person with a strong moral compass, you don’t start drama.
You aren’t spreading rumors, keeping fights going or trying to focus on controversy and conflict.
It’s a waste of time, and it makes life worse. You avoid starting drama or feeding into it.
6) Lie maliciously
Almost everybody I know has told white lies or small lies at some point.
Even somebody with the strongest moral compass has, at the very least, likely not told the whole truth in at least one situation.
But people with a strong moral compass do have one line they won’t cross.
They won’t lie maliciously, to hurt somebody else.
They may lie to protect somebody or to avoid harm or violence.
But they’ll never lie to get revenge or to take advantage of somebody.
7) Defraud an associate
Lastly in the things people with a strong moral compass never do is defraud somebody they work with or work for.
Grift and corruption are everywhere these days, and many people even get away with it.
If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be doing it.
But people with a strong moral compass don’t defraud or cheat people in business even if those they are working with are unlikable or rough people.
For one thing, somebody with a strong moral compass isn’t interested in having success in his or her career while knowing they didn’t really earn it or got their through dishonesty.
It would leave a bad taste in their mouth, and spoil the accomplishments they did have.
Pointing in the right direction
Having a strong moral compass doesn’t mean you’re perfect and it doesn’t mean you never make mistakes.
But it does mean there are certain red lines you just don’t cross, which I’ve mentioned above.
If you find that you are crossing these red lines, become aware of it and start making different decisions and acting differently.
If you find that your moral compass is strong, congratulations.
The world could use a lot more like you and thank you for your service.