Integrity is often looked at as moral, as making good things in the world and doing the “right” things. This view is a result of our making choices in life based on looking at them as “good vs. bad” or “right vs. wrong” or “true vs. false.” Most of the time these choices arise from feelings of guilt, shame, blame or at our darkest moment when we have been accused of not having integrity. This is a very limited way of thinking and approaching our lives. In fact, integrity is a way to empower ourselves and others.
Who gives us the power and permission to judge and evaluate others’ integrity? What gives us the right to base others’ level of integrity on what we think integrity is or should be? We judge and evaluate others’ decisions, their lifestyle or life choices and anything else we can push our opinions on, so we can impose our idea of integrity on them. When they don’t accept our viewpoint, we become upset and resentful. We distance ourselves from them. When considering your idea of integrity, I invite you to separate your view of social law, religious beliefs and/or cultural beliefs from your idea of integrity at this moment. Look at integrity as a personal phenomenon.
Every person declares his or her own personal integrity based on personal beliefs, faith, values, principles and life choices. However, we all have one thing in common when it comes to integrity and that is… without it things do not work well in our lives and in our commitments! Whatever our personal integrity is, when we do not practice it we do not accomplish our goals neither, therefore, our intentions. Integrity is not constrained or limited by rules, agreements, descriptions, in-order-to’s or demands to get anywhere or to make ourselves or someone else do anything.
Integrity is the ability to be as good as our word, to declare power over our promises, to be true to our personal values and principles, to live our lives as our own people. Ultimately, being true to ourselves and being true to our self-expression is the simplest form of integrity. That is the only force in life that will bring us power, joy, freedom and happiness. We will fail if we live our lives and hold up to integrity only for others or to get others’ approval, to please someone else or impress another human being. A life lived with integrity is a life that is based on your personal values and principles.
You can use your integrity as a meter, like a sensor to distinguish and realize your degree of the reliability or truthfulness of your actions to your commitments and, ultimately, your word. To me, integrity is when we consistently produce what we promise to produce, do what we say we will do, or say what we tell others we will say. This rule applies to what we promise ourselves and to others. Regardless of the circumstances or obstacles in your way, personal integrity is one of powerful forces of decision making. Why? Notice that each time we get into trouble or cause upset with ourselves or others, it is when we don’t follow through with our personal values and principles or what we stand for in life. When we sell ourselves and our integrity short for the sake of being liked, being part of the crowd and/or being ordinary, we short ourselves.