What is integrity?
Integrity is when someone acts with honesty, honor and truthfulness. If someone has integrity, typically they’re a person who has strong principles and follows them, no matter who is watching.
But here’s the problem I have with integrity. How the world currently views integrity is from a place of consideration for the other instead of self. It’s based on whether or not you have integrity with another person.
We’re only in integrity when we do what it is we say we are going to do. But what happens when what we said we were going to do no longer matches what feels best for us? What do we do here?
What I’ve learned is integrity starts with us. It starts with us being honest and true to ourselves and honoring ourselves first and foremost. If we are unable to do so, then we are living out of integrity—no matter how many times we follow through with what it is we have committed to or said we would do for another person.
When we do something for others and it is not true for us, essentially we are abandoning our needs and our wants. Often it comes from fear of not letting the other person down, or if we dig deeper, it’s a fear of rejection or abandonment. If you’re a people pleaser, the very notion of integrity can lead to burnout, resentment, and breakdown.
So how do you live a life in integrity with yourself?
1. Start asking yourself, Is this what I feel like doing? Will it nourish me, or drain me? Assess whether or not it is worth doing. i.e. the cost of doing something which might drain you, might mean you end up sick and burnt out.
2. Pause before you say yes. Breathe. Reflect. If you’re a people pleaser sometimes yes becomes an automatic reflexive response. If you’re unsure of what feels best for you in the moment, you can say, “Let me get back to you” or ask, “Can I confirm later on?”
3. Audit your life. Go through each area of your life and ask yourself does this bring me joy right now? Does this feel good right now? If the answer is no, you get to choose. Do you want to continue down this path, or what other options exist?
4. Choose yourself first. Ask yourself why you are doing what it is you’re doing. Am I doing this because I want to do it? Or am I doing it because this is what others tell me I should be doing or what others tell me I should be?
Integrity means living a life in honor of you. One of the top five regrets of the dying is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” It takes courage to choose yourself over others. Will you step in?