I’ve been contemplating the word integrity lately. I met up with a fellow coach the other day and we discussed what it meant. Our conversation about one word has changed the way I perceive definitions of words and how I have been applying them to my life. I’m excited to share this with you!
In the past when I thought of integrity, I thought of it as keeping my word. A self promise. Take a moment and notice how do you define it? What does it mean to you?
Have you noticed when you define words, sometimes we think that everyone else in the world believes in the same definition.
We can add to the definition of integrity when you don’t keep your word, you acknowledge you haven’t kept your word and clean up the mess afterward. You don’t give your word for things you don’t want to do or have no intention of doing.
In my past, I have had a few people in my life that said they will do something and then back out at the last minute. It drove me crazy! And it still does, though not to the degree it did a few years ago. What has changed has been that I have recognized that I have a deep need for integrity in my life. I always thought of integrity as giving my word and keeping it… at all costs. Maybe I should capitlize…AT ALL COSTS! I now recognize that not everyone believed my definition. I had assumed they agreed to it, to the degree that I had integrated it into my life.
Its a funny thing when you think about it.
We assume that everyone else around us has the same definition of words and have the same beliefs as we do about them.
When they act contrary to it, we are put off by it.
However, keeping my word at all costs is not a true definition of integrity and in fact it is not always possible. What about the freedom of changing your mind? Or when circumstances have changed due to additional knowledge, when your feelings have changed, or when you have changed.
In the past I defined integrity as sticking it through no matter what because I said I would. What a prison I lived in.
This hasn’t been such a bad thing in terms of accomplishing things. However, it misses out on a core component of being human. Our heart and soul! When our heart is with whatever we choose, our actions flow, we are open to the experiences that happen to us and around us. We are present! When our heart is not with what we have agreed to do there is a tendency to get caught in the head about all the reasons you don’t want to do it.
It is possible to be so caught up in the noise in our head about all the reasons you are doing something and don’t want to to it. When this happens, we close ourselves off from the experience and what it has to offer. How much of the experience is us running the story in our head about how we don’t want to do it even as we are doing the very thing we don’t want to do! Ever been with someone as they do something they don’t want to do. There’s no life to it. Its draining to the person doing the task and to all parties who are involved.
How many of our tasks are things we do begrudgingly? How does that feel when you sit down and contemplate how much of our day we fill with obligations that we never wanted to make in the first place?
Good news! Every moment provides us an opportunity to choose and act again. Having integrity with yourself and loving yourself means that you can renegotiate your word and make new promises to yourself.
Let those around you know what you are committed to.
It doesn’t mean that we run away and leave a mess for someone else.
It doesn’t mean that we abandon the difficulties.
It doesn’t meant that we don’t follow through to clean up the consequences of changing our mind.
Being in integrity means that you are honest with YOURSELF first.
Before you give your word here are some things to contemplate:
Is this something you want to do?
Is this something you are able to do? (Do you have the time)? Are you willing to create the time?
Go back and be true to yourself.
Can you say no?
Is there a sense of relief about the thought of saying no?
If there is, are you still giving your word to do it?
What’s that all about!
Contemplate these questions. Living a life of integrity means living a life of Loving You! Loving Yourself means doing things that bring joy to your heart and soul. What are you committed to?