Creating Integrity: Having Your Life Fully Represent You

Having our inner and outer lives match

Posted Mar 14, 2013

1.adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. 

We most often associate integrity with honesty – the butcher who tells you honesty whether a piece of meat is, in fact, fresh or tender, who doesn’t put his thumb on the scale when weighing your order; the check-out person at 7-11 who calls you back when she realizes that she didn't give you the correct change. 

But real integrity is something more – the wholeness, integration; that state where your outer life fully represents your inner life, where your values, character, principles overlap and are consistent in your everyday living. A good place to be, especially when it is so easily for us to be fragmented, distracted; to keep our work life, personal life, inner life compartmentalized and so disconnected. 

How do we create integrity? Some thoughts: 

Determine your values: What do you believe in? What are the 2 most important aspects of life? What does it mean to you to be human. How do you demonstrate these values in your everyday living? 

Determine you: What is the purpose of your life? What do you want most? How is what you want different from what you should do? 

Hold steady: Can you hold steady to your values under adversity, from the criticism or disapproval of others, from your own occasional self-doubts? What support do you need to do so? 

Responsible emotions: What do your emotions tell you about what is important, in you, in life? What are passionate about. Are you able to use emotions as valuable information about your needs and values, rather than just trying to numb, avoid, or dump them on others? 

Spontaneity: Integrity isn't about staid and rigid. It is about being consciously alive. Can you be spontaneous, break out and follow your wants and emotions while still being responsible for them? 

Compassion: Can you see others as struggling, doing the best they can, rather than assuming that they are malicious? 

Flexibility: Can you change your values and behaviors – not out of fear, not to please / appease others – but as a result of the changing landscape of your life, your own inner reflection? 

What does it mean to you to have integrity? What do you need to change to make your life more whole, more representative of who you really are? What support do you need to get there?