The definition of integrity is:
1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
2. the state of being whole and undivided
Integrity stems from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete. So integrity requires an inner sense of ‘wholeness’ and consistency of character. When you are in integrity, people should be able to visibly see it through your actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes. When you are ‘whole’ and consistent, there is only one you. You bring that same you wherever you are, regardless of the circumstance. You don’t leave parts of yourself behind. You don’t have a ‘work you,’ a ‘family you,’ and a ‘social you.’
People talk about integrity often. It is, most commonly, high on the list of characteristics that people value in others. I am the same. I value it when people do what they said they would do.
Do you think other people would consider you a person of integrity?
I would like to think that was the case. We are, by no means, perfect creatures. We are human after all. But in general, if I tell someone I am going to do something, I usually do it.
But then it suddenly dawned on me...a question popped into my mind...
Do I have integrity with myself? When it comes to my own actions and wanting to achieve particular goals - do I do what I said I would do, in order to achieve my own goals or get jobs done or to move forward in life?
The answer came as quite a shock!
Integrity is a concept of "consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the "honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.”
When I read this...I realised I was in trouble!
Am I honest with myself? Am I truthful with myself? Do my actions align with what I am saying about myself?
Unfortunately...the answer was - not as consistent or as honest as I needed to be. It is easy to convince yourself that you are doing what you 'should' be doing, when really....you're not!
So how do I change it?
The solution? It simply came down to this.
I had to get real with myself, to be consistent and congruent so that my actions aligned with my words! It is really very simple.
In order to have integrity with ourselves, we need to:
* Choose courage over comfort
Being brave and stepping into something new and uncomfortable is where growth and change occur. I was seriously stuck in my comfort zone for a very long time. I liked it there. It was warm and cosy. But unfortunately, I did not grow or change and make any personal progress in many areas of my life - even though I desperately wanted to! It was always easier to make an excuse for why it was too hard or why it was easier for other people than to step out of that dreaded comfort zone! NO MORE!! I am brave! I am courageous! I am seeking the change I have desired for so long! Will you?
* Choose right over fast, fun and easy
Fast, fun and easy is.....fast....fun....and easy! Which is why we take that direction more often! It is ALWAYS easier to make the quicker and more enjoyable decision. Unfortunately, it doesn't always get you to where you want to go. Make your choices wisely, with consideration and consistency. Keep your direction and goals in mind.
* Choosing to practice our values rather than simply stating them
Talk is easy. Anyone can say they should do anything. Anyone can say they will do anything. But will they actually do it? Not always. If you have a desire, a dream, a goal - regardless of size, it is always easier to talk about it than actually doing it. Choosing to act and do, with our value of integrity in mind, is something we can show and do ourselves, even when we don't feel like it, even when it's hard
But that feeling that you get when you said you would do something for yourself and you don't follow through....that feeling of unease...that leads to the feeling of letting yourself down....again...that is telling you that you are not living your values. What you are saying and doing are not aligned. They don't match up.
This is not about big gigantic leaps and changes. This is simply about making the conscious change, in small steps, to be consistent with YOURSELF in one area at a time.
So how do we teach our kids about having self-integrity?
We all want them to have it. We want them to do the right thing and make the right choices, even when no one is watching.
Teaching integrity is difficult but we can do it by showing and reminding our kids they have a responsibility to demonstrate their honesty and do the right thing, regardless of what their peers say.
Tough job, hey? This is where we get the opportunity to CONSISTENTLY remind them that their words and actions have an impact on themselves and others, regardless of who is listening or watching. (Just like we need to remind ourselves!)
Until next week...stay true to yourself,
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