Integrity. It’s a loaded word. The simple meaning is “the state of being whole and undivided.” It means having strong principals.Integrity comes from the same root as integer – a whole number. I define integrity as my outsides match my insides. When both are in harmony, I can glide through life unencumbered by strife. I am not compromising my morals and I am not hiding.
When I live in my integrity, I am free.
The Opposite of Integrity
Sometimes, however, I compromise my integrity and I don’t even know I am doing it. Well, on some level I know, because something inside feels like I’m dying a slow and painful death. Sometimes it’s not so subtle. It feels like my organs have been squeezed. I know on some level when I am compromising my integrity. Unfortunately, I used to do it often.
My soul stopped sending me the message because my heart wasn’t listening
My friend Rachael had an experience with inner integrity this past weekend. She had been waiting to get a haircut from her mother’s stylist. And when her mother was delayed, she started getting angry at her mother. Her inner narrative was all about how her time was not being valued, and she got angry that she was kept waiting at this stylist she didn’t even want to go to. When she calmed down and journaled about her anger, she realized that she sold herself out.
Her mother had offered to pay for her to get a hair cut. She had agreed, even though she had the money to go to her own stylist. Once she saw this inconsistency within her soul, she forgave her mother and was no longer bothered by her mother’s tardiness.
When we begin to recognize the ways we sell out, we can start to take back our truth. We can live into our own integrity. It takes some time, but if we are willing to consistently show up to our soul, we no longer act out and get angry at others. We see that at some point, we have made a decision to sell out our integrity.
To have consistent integrity means that we act the same in every situation. We are aligned with ourselves whether we are at work, at home with loved ones or meeting strangers. We can’t be bought or sold – we have a solid moral code.
In raising children, I see my own struggle. I didn’t let my oldest get a cell phone until he was 13 years old. However, my youngest is now angling to get a cell phone earlier. How many parents struggle with this as well? The younger gets everything earlier than the older? But if I have a belief that one shouldn’t have a cell phone before the age of 13, to compromise that belief would mean I’d lack integrity. So, I’ll check back and let you know how I’m doing on that.
Honest integrity means that I keep my word and my promises. Even if it costs me time or money. I told the story of the book I sold a few months ago. Sure I could have sold it for more. But, I had already agreed to sell it at the price I listed it. I considered saying that it got lost in the mail. But that would damage my inner integrity. So, I kept my word and sent it. And I have not suffered a financial set back. It was the right thing to do. I trusted that karmically it always comes back to us.
Integrity is all about how I act when no one is watching
The reward for integrity is peace of mind and spirit
The Temptation To Compromise Integrity
In Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence,” https://www.influenceatwork.com/ he writes about the modes that tempt us to reciprocate. He cites reasons why politicians have to vote a certain way. Even against what their constituents would want. The reason? Reciprocity. Sometimes we are tempted to reciprocate in kind and do things we would otherwise not do. Why does the Leukemia and Lymphoma society enclose a nickel in their mailings? Because most people will feel compelled to open the envelope to get the nickel. And once they’ve opened the envelope, they will feel obligated to send back a donation.
Cialdini opens our eyes to this practice to show how much we can be influenced to act a certain way, if we feel obligated to reciprocate.
I had this experience last week at my doctor’s office. He had just given the congregation a very large donation. So, when he asked me to get a flu shot, although I didn’t want one, I said yes. (Full disclosure, on more than one occasion, I’ve gotten violently ill from prior flu shots. He assured me the flu shots have gotten better in recent years, and this shot proved to be most uneventful. I now feel confident about taking them in the future.)
Did I sell out for that flu shot? On some level, yes. I rationalized that it was for my higher good. Even so, my actions did not match my words. So, just know that I too am a work in progress. It’s my hope that my integrity will only continue to expand and strengthen in the future.
Has anyone else besides me and Rachael compromised their integrity lately? Drop me a comment below and tell on yourself. And let’s resolve to grow spiritually in the future, now that our eyes are opened to this concept. Until we meet again, may you be blessed along your spiritual journey!
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