Dear Honorable Journeyers,
Integrity is the word of the week. By definition it means: “possession of firm principles, completeness or wholeness.” We often equate integrity with honor or honesty in how we give our word in business or relationships.
Simply put, having integrity suggests that we commit to something and then do what we said we would do. The intention may be pure when it’s agreed upon, but what happens if you can’t keep your word? Often people just shrug and say to themselves, “Oh well, I meant to be on time, but…”(fill in the blank), or “I thought I’d be available to help but I can’t. Oh well…”
True integrity has us taking an action to create the completeness of our agreements. Things happen, but a life lived with integrity would have us calling the person we told we would meet and letting them know that we are running late. It doesn’t matter if it’s two minutes or twenty, if we are not able to keep our agreements we need to get complete about them. Landmark Education refers to this act as “restoring integrity.” But you can’t keep breaking it and restoring it, breaking it restoring it. It’s a lot like trust.
I pondered integrity and having grown up with my Daddy’s phrase, “Your word is your bond,” I didn’t think I had anything to grapple with on this issue. Was I wrong! I discovered that, while I keep my word to others, I often don’t to myself! “I’m going to go to sleep earlier tonight,” I might tell myself. And then I’m absorbed in reading, responding to a friend’s email, or am engrossed in conversation, and I break my word to myself again and again.
Another way I’ve been out of integrity with my word is by doing more than I said I would. I used to think this was noble! Now at times when people take advantage of me, I realize that I taught them to do that. For example, if I tell someone that I’m only available to help them from 1-3 and then I’m still there at 9, I’m teaching them not to believe me. It’s as if I’m saying, “Don’t listen to my boundaries and limits. I don’t mean what I say.” You can renegotiate an agreement by acknowledging it and changing it but without that, there’s no integrity.
And for Heaven’s sake, let’s not be untruthful because we don’t know what to say. For instance, if someone has been ugly to you and then they apologize, don’t say, “It’s okay.” It isn’t! There’s never a good reason to be treated badly. Not if they’re tired, hungry, or their team lost. You can say, “Thank you for your apology,” but never that it’s “okay.”
Here are a few guiding principles, or Keys to Enchantment, as I like to call them, to steer you toward having integrity:
Key #1: Mindfulness– get present to when you are out of integrity
Key #2: Altered Perceptions-have you been out of integrity by not honoring your own word?
Key #3: Journaling– I got clear by journaling about it
Key #5: Reduced Clutter– communication gets cleared
Key #6: Humor– helps to be gentle with yourself and others, don’t let it become a mask
Key #10: Meditation– can heighten your awareness about situations in which you can elevate your level of integrity.