The Journey to Integrity
Integrity is a byproduct of good character and heart-centered living, which is why it seems to be almost non-existent in the sick and selfish society we currently live in. However, if you are someone that seeks personal evolution, then integrity is a quality that can be built and enhanced.
There is a great quote by C.S. Lewis that says, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one watches.” I completely agree with his sentiments, though I would like to add that integrity is also doing what is right when there is no intrinsic reward or perceived value, and it can be directed towards others or ourselves.
The internet is flooded with people ‘doing good things’ all for the sake of getting those often coveted likes and reactions.
C.S. Lewis was very right in his observation because if we are doing good deeds so people will take notice, then our intentions may not be as pure as we think.
It is important that we cultivate mindfulness around our actions and endeavors.
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to see if there are any areas that we can improve on:
ARE WE BEING HONEST?
This might seem like an obvious one. Don’t lie to others, right? We all know that lying (in almost all situations) is immoral, and yet we can find ourselves doing it anyways. Lying is often a tool we use to get out of something we don’t want to do or to change the outcome of a scenario to one that is in our favor.
Saying, “My kid got sick, and I can’t make it to that dinner after all.” instead of telling our friends we simply don’t feel like having company.
Or saying, “Sure, I can do that for you, it’s no problem at all!” when we are overburdened and stressed out but fear saying we can’t handle it and looking weak.
It is much better to simply acknowledge our feelings and emotions about the situation and be direct instead of lying about how we really feel. It might upset the people around us from time to time, but denying ourselves the ability, to be honest, often leads to resentment and internal struggle while we deal with feelings of shame and regret.
I am definitely guilty of this one! I am learning that if I stay in my integrity and communicate honestly, then I can feel good about the outcome because I know that I am being true to myself.
ARE WE BEING KIND AND COMPASSIONATE?
This is such an important one, especially in today’s societal climate. People are STRUGGLING, and so their tempers are shorter, their frustrations are easier to see, and everyone is projecting their trauma all over the place. It can be an extremely triggering environment just to interact with people!
That being said, kindness is a superpower, and the more we can step into our compassionate hearts and see people through the eyes of Love, the easier it is not to be entangled in the emotional spewing of other people’s pain.
DO WE KEEP OUR WORD?
This is one that I feel is the least developed in people, myself included. Giving our ‘word’ to someone has lost its power, it seems, so much so that we will promise a variety of things on the spot if it suits our favor. Why do you think ‘pinky promises’ are invoked when we want to make “sure” the person will keep their word? People break their promises so often we created a clever way to show others that it’s REALLY important to keep their word!
There was a time that when you gave a promise to someone, you kept it, at all costs, to the best of your ability; but over the years, decades, and centuries of manipulation, greed, and corruption, we have learned not to trust people and this ‘code of honor’ seems almost non-existent today.
I feel that to really live with integrity, we need to stop being so casual about ‘promising’ something or giving our ‘word’ and choose wisely when we do. Every time we break a promise, whether intentioned or not, we show others and ourselves that we can’t be trusted or relied upon. Definitely not a great feeling!
And let me also include that this refers to promises to YOURSELF!! How many times do we promise ourselves to start eating healthy, exercise, or start and finish that passion project, etc.? All the f*cking time! Right?!
We are constantly making promises to ourselves and then breaking them over and over and over again because we lack internal integrity, and so we have created a narrative that we can’t trust ourselves, which ultimately is very damaging to our self-worth. Spend some time contemplating how many times you have broken promises to yourself and others, and seek to move forward in such a way that you reserve those promises for when you are really ready to commit to them.
Next time you are about to say, “I promise!” just make sure that you mean it and that you will keep it.
ARE WE RELIABLE?
Sometimes life throws us a curveball, and we simply can’t follow through on something we said we would do, but in most cases, we have the ability to show up. Of course, if you have a chronic illness or other reasons why you might not be reliable all the time, that is COMPLETELY different than what I am referring to here.
It is important to do what you say you are going to do. We all know how annoying and frustrating it is to be counting on someone for something important, and they simply bail on us! I once moved from a house and had a bunch of people who said they would show up and help, but on the day of the move, it ended up being me and my two sons who moved everything. Literally, NO ONE showed up to help us, and we had to struggle on our own. As someone who tries to be reliable for others, experiences like that one left me feeling rejected and resentful.
I think it’s wonderful when we want to help others and we get caught up in the moment, or the story of the person, and immediately offer our time and/or services without putting much thought into it. However, when we don’t understand the gravity of the situation, we can think it’s no big deal to ‘not show up’ when in reality, it can be soul-crushing to the other person. So let us all work on being more reliable and showing up when we say we will.
Remember, being reliable is an important aspect of integrity! We should strive to be people that others can confidently rely on, especially in a time of crisis.
DO WE FINISH WHAT WE START?
This is an aspect of integrity that I personally struggle with (being a Gemini and all), but I am getting better at it! This is the part that really has more to do with ourselves than other people. Are we able to commit to something, even when it gets boring or unfulfilling? Can we finish a laborious task or have the willpower to form new healthy habits? Or do we bail when it stops being fun or exciting?
Now, don’t confuse this with something that is actively harmful or dangerous. Often along our spiritual journey, Spirit will definitely close some doors that are not for us, and we are to honor those parts of the transformation process. Instead, what I am referring to is cultivating that daily exercise program, eating healthy, finishing that DIY project, writing that book, taking online courses, etc.
Before jumping into project after project (I’m sooo guilty of this one), take time to consider whether or not you are actually supposed to follow that direction! We can end up spinning our wheels and getting nowhere, which leads us to quit in frustration and have a LOT of lost time in the process.
It’s important to be very honest with ourselves about whether or not we are ready to even start a project in the first place!
Remember, integrity is cultivated and improved upon as we grow in our personal evolution. Take inventory of areas in your life where you may fall short and seek out ways to improve yourself and build more integrity.