Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Integrity: the state of being whole and undivided.
Are you acting with integrity? How do you know?
Let’s start with your moral principles. What is meaningful to you? What beliefs do you have and what values do you uphold? What are the core principles by which you operate your life?
Most of us don’t have answers to these questions. We’ve never taken the time to think about and establish these things. Take time to sit with these questions and continue to evaluate them as you move through life. As we learn and grow, our answers may change. In different seasons, we may have different priorities. Unlike what we were taught when we were little, we don’t have to keep a fixed mindset about all our beliefs. As Maya Angelou says, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Once we have answered these questions, we need to evaluate our thoughts, words, and actions. Do they align with our priorities, values, and beliefs? Much of what we think, say, and do is reactionary. We’re floating along not even aware that we are acting out of our integrity, out of alignment.
Take inventory of your thoughts, words, and actions. Making time to reflect everyday will help you realize where there are gaps between your intentions and your actions. When you were stressed, did your thoughts, words, and actions align with your beliefs and values?
As you start to regularly reflect, you will see patterns and habits that you may need to break or change to get yourself more closely aligned with who you want to be. Closer to acting with integrity. We often default to our bad habits or worst self if we have not built intentional habits around choosing our best self.
Our thoughts are the greatest example of this. Our minds tend to wonder to fear and judgment, of ourselves and of others. We close down and get defensive when we are challenged or questioned. When we become aware of the thoughts we think, we can intentionally choose different thoughts. Choosing more positive thoughts correlates to choosing more positive actions.
Little by little, we make our way closer to acting with integrity.
Wholeness, and living an integrated and undivided life is the next step in the journey. To attain it consistently seems as unrealistic to me as perfection, but I continue to try. It’s a persistent and purposeful pursuit. We evaluate what we fill our mind, hearts, and bodies with and make an intention plan to ensure that the books we read, the music we listen to, the food we eat, and anything else we consume aligns with our values and beliefs.
We listen to our spirit and do some soul searching. Instead of only seeking answers and advice from others, we start to look within ourselves and to God. We consult Him on all matters and we find out for ourselves what we want and need. We rest when we need to rest. We live differently than others because that is what we are called to do. God made you uniquely you.
Undivided happens when our insides match our outsides. When we can live and work and play as our full self in a way that honors ourself and others. First, we have to get to know ourself. Then we have to discern the lies from the truth. Then we purposefully practice a more integrated way of being.
“Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.”