Living with integrity

Integrity simply means not violating one’s own identity. Erich Fromm

Imagine how great the world would be if everyone did exactly what they said they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it. More and more often procrastination, excuses and other obstacles get in the way preventing a lot of people from delivering this. Before we know it, we’re wearing thin because our integrity is being ignored.

Integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. Essentially, living with integrity is aligning your values with your actions.

A lot of the time when we aren’t living with integrity it is affecting (i.e. letting down) other people. How many times have you heard someone promise something to charity – and not do it? How many times have you been let down socially? What about when working as part of a team in the office? Are you the person you want to be at the moment, or can you see some areas where you are letting yourself and others down?

The importance of integrity
Integrity is important in everybody’s lives as it will lead to strong personal relationships, long term success, consistency in one’s life and it is great for leadership skills. We can’t lead and inspire others if we are not acting with integrity. In fact, if you want to be a positive influence, act with integrity, treat others with respect and live by positive values.

Integrity is first knowing yourself – your values, desires, talents, dreams … and then being true to that self in all actions and interactions. It’s having behaviour that is congruent with your values. When your actions are aligned with your values, you conduct yourself authentically, sincerely and openly. When you clarify your values, it assists with setting goals that are consistent with those values – bringing purposes and passion to your life.

Some values to help you act with integrity
Below are some values to assist you in acting with integrity.
Responsibility
: Take responsibility and ownership of your life, your actions and who you are as a person.
Attitude
: Be confident and comfortable within yourself and you will have no reason to belittle others or act with arrogance. You can build confidence simply by working on your communication skills.
Commitment
: Align your words and actions and follow through with anything you say you will do. When we keep our commitments, trust is built.
Honesty
: Be open about your objectives and motives with other people. Where there is high trust, what you see is what you get.
Values
: Make sure you have a strong set of core beliefs. If you wish to alter any of these, I highly recommend looking into Schema Therapy.
Consistency
: Make the right decisions and do it consistently. Don’t lie to anyone about anything.
Reinforcement
: Choose your behaviour to reflect your values and you’ll move through life with authenticity, sincerity and wholeness. Some examples of aligning your actions with your values may include:
Value: Honesty = be truthful
Value: Commitment = follow through
Value: Independence = do your own thing.

Benefits of living with integrity
Life coach Cheryl Richardson says that living without integrity makes goals harder to reach, attracts people into your life who will make you feel bad, and you start losing faith in yourself.
– People living with integrity are often seen as: trustworthy, decent, honest, moral, virtuous, appropriate, mindful, ethical, authentic, fair and credible.
– When you live with integrity, you succeed. You are open and honest. Your life is uncomplicated and less stressful.
– Integrity can be like a butterfly effect – people follow your example and act more honestly.
– Living with integrity means you live with less regrets – you stick to what you know is right or wrong.
– Integrity helps us handle criticism more easily.
– When you make a mistake, it’s easier to accept responsibility and move forward.

How to live with integrity
(1) Concentrate on how you spend your time and money. To live a life with integrity, you spend your time according to what is of most value to you. This could be working, seeing family, working for charity, taking care of yourself (exercising, meditating/reflecting, cooking, sleeping etc). When it comes to money – maximise your real hourly wage, be conscious of your spending, eliminate spending money on things with low value.
(2) Don’t settle for less than what you deserve in your relationships. Start challenging yourself – ask yourself what life would be like if you had the ideal partner, more supportive friends, a more gratifying job or a happier and more fulfilling life. Ask yourself how those changes look and feel. You’ll find that because they look and feel better than what you’re currently experiencing, you’ll be more compelled to make the changes that align with that new vision of your life.
(3) Ask for what you want. Understanding your needs helps you establish solid boundaries. Making your needs known to those around you, helps you to enforce those boundaries and teaches others how to treat us.
(4) Speak your truth (even if it upsets people). Expressing our truths is one of the most powerful privileges we have as humans. If we speak our truth with caring and respect, then the message can be that much more effective.
(5) Be true to yourself. Make decisions based on your beliefs.

Looking for more information about acting with integrity? Check out this fantastic clip on YouTube by Sagebrush Community!

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