(Stock photo) Having strong integrity comes from having a strong personal foundation. We know that large buildings have strong foundations to keep them standing in rough storms. We need the same thing to help us meet our life’s challenges with self-confidence and strength.
How's Your Integrity?
DECEMBER 04, 2008Susan Scholl, HappyNews ColumnistLiving a quality life includes exercising the muscle that builds your integrity. What is integrity? It’s a measure of personal wholeness. Having strong integrity comes from having a strong personal foundation. We know that large buildings have strong foundations to keep them standing in rough storms. We need the same thing to help us meet our life’s challenges with self-confidence and strength.Integrity is one of the building blocks of your foundation. When you are not in integrity, life tips out of balance. It comes from the essence of your character and values. Integrity includes honesty and soundness of moral character. People will know you are trustworthy.Integrity involves living up to your values. Of course, in order to live up your values, you first need to know what they are. Values are inherent. They come from within. You might already know what they are even though you may not have given it much thought. Can you identify your values? A few examples would be: family, spirituality, peace, challenge, honesty, simplicity, etc. It’s important when identifying them that you be certain they are your own and do not come from other sources, such as family or friends. All too often others who care about us tell us what we “should” value and we take that on rather than determining our own. If you hear the word “should” from someone, then it’s about them and their values, which may or not be reflective of yours. Values are not negotiable and they form your character. After you have identified them, the next step is to ask yourself if your life reflects them. If so, you are well on your well to developing healthy integrity. If not, then there are some changes to be made.Integrity involves self-care. Without self-care it is easy to experience burnout. Moving from burnout to balance will allow you to have a strong personal foundation. People often get self-care and selfishness mixed up. I have met young mothers who think it is selfish to care for themselves, but if they don’t, they won’t have the energy necessary to take care of their children. Self-care at times can imply something indulgent. Some high-powered executives are under the false illusion that it is more important to build the business than take care of themselves. Often this shows up in their health or a business failure because of burn out. Integrity involves quality. You are in integrity if you are doing your best quality of work, whether it is in a business or in your home. It also shows up in how you treat other people. If you are so stressed and out of balance, then most likely your integrity will suffer in the way you interact with co-workers or family. Good integrity speaks to who you are as a person, both to others and to yourself. Integrity involves getting your needs met. I’m not talking about getting everything you want, but about getting what you need. Getting your needs met is essential to a quality life. It’s your responsibility to get your needs met. This may include communicating them or setting boundaries around them. If someone is doing something to you that is unacceptable, it is your responsibility to let them know that and set a boundary around it. If you don’t, you are compromising your own integrity. You may find yourself often aware of the needs of others and put aside your own. It is essential to rethink that and get in touch with your own needs and to get them met. They must be communicated just as others communicate theirs to you.
Ask yourself if you are in integrity now? If not, what needs to be done to get you there? It’s a thought provoking question and one that will serve you well to answer. Define your values and take a look at your lifestyle. Are they in alignment? Does your life reflect your values? Do you take responsibility for all that goes on in your life or do you blame others when things do wrong? Are you taking time for your own life? Are you getting your needs met? Are you doing quality work?If you find yourself out of integrity as many of us do when we evaluate ourselves, then address what it would take to bring your life into the correct alignment. Perhaps you might want to discuss it with a therapist or life coach. They are both trained to assist you with this. Restoring your integrity is a healthy and enjoyable course of action. Enjoy the process and watch your life change for the better.
Susan Scholl is a Certified Professional Life Coach. You can read more about her at www.susanscholl.com