Have you ever been accused of lacking integrity? The concept of integrity can be tricky to grasp, and understanding what it truly means to be in or out of integrity can take us on a transformative journey. This week, I’d like to share some thoughts about integrity, its significance, and how to regain it when you feel out of alignment. What you’ll discover might just be the starting point for true power and wholeness.
I am no expert when it comes to integrity. In fact, for a significant part of my life, I’ve lacked integrity in areas like money, life purpose, relationships, and sexuality. These experiences have taught me that the path to integrity isn’t straightforward but filled with ups and downs. In fact, it’s very messy. It was by acknowledging my mistakes and growing from them that I started to truly understand the meaning and value of integrity.
The Meaning of Being in Integrity
The word “integrity” and its root, “integral,” come from the Latin word “integritas,” meaning “undivided, unified, or one with the whole.” Being in integrity means aligning our beliefs, values, and actions with what we hold true in our hearts. It is the harmony between our inner convictions and outward expression. When we are in integrity, we feel strong inside. More importantly, we feel deeply aligned with ourselves, others, and the world around us.
The Paradox of Integrity
The paradox of integrity lies in the fact that, in order to truly experience integrity, we must first experience what being out of integrity feels like. As the famous saying goes, “Every master was once a disaster.” The journey towards integrity often entails learning from the painful consequences of being out of alignment. These experiences allow us to grasp the significance and power of aligning with our authentic truth. In our quest to comprehend integrity fully, it is crucial to distinguish between personal integrity and moral integrity.
Personal Integrity vs Moral Integrity
Integrity can be viewed from two angles: personal integrity and moral integrity. Personal integrity means staying true to yourself, honoring your values, and living authentically. It involves making choices that genuinely reflect your beliefs, core values, and desires, even if they deviate from societal or cultural expectations.
On the other hand, moral integrity relates to following ethical principles and societal norms. It means acting in ways that society considers right and just. While personal and moral integrity may overlap, it’s crucial to understand that sometimes they don’t.
For instance, let’s consider the example of my mother. She demonstrated personal integrity when she chose to divorce my father, even though it went against our cultural and religious norms. As a result, she was banned from attending church. She decided to prioritize her emotional well-being and remain true to herself. Although some viewed her decision as morally unacceptable, she based it on her values and truth.
Recognizing When You’re Out of Integrity
Being out of integrity often comes with a sense of disconnection, a feeling that something is off. Somehow, that feeling weakens you. This disconnection can manifest in three fundamental areas: within ourselves, in our relationships with others, and in our connection to the universe or a higher power.
Out of Integrity with Yourself
When you lack integrity within yourself, you may experience inner discomfort, unease, or emotional turmoil. You sense that you are not living in alignment with your truth. This misalignment can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, restlessness, or depression. For example, imagine you have a deep passion for writing but have been neglecting it due to other responsibilities. This misalignment with your true desires can create a sense of disconnection and unhappiness within yourself.
Out of Integrity with Others
Lack of integrity with others can result in strained relationships or conflicts. Friends, family, or colleagues may point out that your actions or commitments don’t align with your values. You may feel disconnected or tend to avoid certain conversations. For example, if you repeatedly fail to fulfill promises you made to a friend, this lack of integrity erodes trust and creates distance in the relationship. Taking responsibility for your actions, sincerely apologizing, and renewing your commitment to honor your word can help rebuild trust and strengthen the relationship.
Out of Integrity with the Universe
Feeling out of integrity with the universe can create a sense of being stuck or disconnected from the natural flow of life. It may seem like your desires are unreachable, and you may feel like you’re swimming against the current. This disconnection can lead to a sense of loneliness or detachment from a higher power or the guiding force of the universe.
For instance, if you strongly desire to contribute to a cause that aligns with your values but hesitate to take action due to fear or self-doubt, you can realign your actions with your values by taking small steps toward making an impact. Doing so will help you reconnect with the natural rhythm of life and experience a sense of unity with the universe.
Steps to Move Towards Greater Integrity
If you would like to experience a greater sense of integrity in a specific area of your life or relationships, here is a process that I have found to be very helpful:
Step 1: Choose an Area to Improve
Select a specific area of your life where you suspect you may lack integrity. It could involve a relationship, a client, a circumstance, or even your relationship with money. Focus on a domain that holds personal growth significance for you.
Step 2: Reflect on Your Lack of Integrity
Consider where you lack integrity in a particular area. Explore actions or behaviors that don’t align with your values or the truth. Identify the fears or concerns that hinder you from living with integrity. For example, if you’re examining your relationship with money, you might realize that you’ve been overspending or avoiding financial responsibility. Ask yourself, “Who am I being in this situation? What am I doing, or not doing, that’s out of alignment?”
Step 3: Embrace the Discomfort
Allow yourself to feel discomfort when you acknowledge your lack of integrity. Embrace any emotions that may surface, such as pain, anger, shame, or guilt. Recognize that these feelings are essential for guiding you back to alignment and wholeness. For example, you may feel guilty when reflecting on how you’ve neglected your health by not prioritizing exercise and self-care.
Step 4: Cultivate Heart-Brain Coherence
Heart coherence is a state of unity between the heart and mind, enabling you to neutralize negative emotions and see the bigger picture of any situation. Take a moment to breathe deeply into your heart while evoking feelings of care and self-compassion. Use guided meditations or other practices to connect with the deeper truth within your heart. As you connect with your heart, ask yourself, “What would being in integrity in this situation look and feel like?”
Step 5: Boost Your Integrity by 5%
Gradually increase your awareness of integrity by engaging in Nathaniel Branden‘s sentence completion exercise. Ask your heart for assistance in completing the following sentence:
“If I were 5% more aware of being in integrity regarding [area of focus], then I would…”
Let your answers flow naturally without forcing them. This exercise expands your awareness and opens pathways to greater alignment. For example, if you’re exploring your relationship with a specific client, completing the sentence might lead you to identify actions like delivering work on time, providing transparent communication, or actively seeking their feedback.
Step 6: Take Inspired Action
Remember that this is an action-driven universe. Taking powerful, inspired action is crucial for realigning with integrity. Step out of your comfort zone and implement the necessary changes to bring yourself back into the natural flow of the universe. Demonstrate through your actions that you’re ready to embrace integrity. For instance, if you’ve been avoiding difficult conversations with a loved one, taking inspired action could involve initiating an open and honest dialogue to address any unresolved issues.
The Truth Shall Set You Free
Integrity involves having the courage to be truthful with yourself and others, and there is great power in that. This power is felt within your body, and it is the pathway to liberation and discovering your true home within yourself. When you embody integrity, you inspire others to do the same. Beyond societal norms, integrity is a way of being that leads to freedom and alignment with yourself, others, and all aspects of life.
Embracing the Journey of Integrity
Integrity is not just a destination; it is a way of being that is truthful, authentic, and aligned with the greater truth inside your heart. To begin the profound journey towards integrity, take a moment to reflect on what you would do differently tomorrow if you were just 5% more aligned with yourself. Repeat this exercise after a few days. As you act on the answers that come, a new sense of integrity will guide your path. That’s the power of integrity.
From my heart to yours,