Have you made commitments recently and not kept them?
Do you say what you mean?
Do you do what you say you’ll do?
Do you have high standards?
Do you walk the talk, or just talk the talk?
If we’re not opting for integrity, aligning our walk with our talk, we are likely to be pinching off our deepest connection with our authentic selves. For many of us, this disconnection can lead to feeling fearful and anxious about life, create stress and diminish living a successful life.
It’s never too soon to learn
My first brush with integrity came when I was ten.
Jennie invited me to her tenth birthday party. Yes please, love to come. Love cake, ice cream games and a chance to wear my best party dess.
Then Suzie’s invitation arrived. Now this was going to be a fantabulous party: Suzie lived in a big house with a long drive and two giant stone dogs guarding the gates. This would be the coolest party of the year, with clowns and horses to ride and other ten year old delights. So I told my mum I’d changed my mind about Jennie’s party and I wanted to go to Suzie’s instead.
My mum said no. I had to honour my commitment to Jennie. No amount of gnashing of teeth or wailing about unfairness made even a dent in mum’s decision. And believe me I tried.
I could choose not to go to Jennie’s party and make my apologies and stay at home, that would be okay. But she was adamant, there was to be no switching to a better offer, after saying yes to the first one.
This wasn’t an easy lesson for a ten year old and might not even be an easy lesson for some adults.
Why it matters
We have a concept of what integrity means but don’t always live by it and end up feeling bad, or stressed out and can’t quite work out the cause.
We don’t always have the courage to say no. We don’t always face the truth about ourselves, and we don’t always do the right thing just because it’s the right thing.
Yet every day, with every move we make, or don’t make we are creating, reinforcing, or expanding and contracting our spirit and the image we have of ourselves. And since our self image determines our experiences in our world, we need to be just a little bit careful.
Promises: A short story
Promises are the commitments we make to ourselves and to others. Each time we break a promise we’re radiating vibrations of how untrustworthy we are, we’re out of touch with our values and our true authentic self and you can all have two guesses as to what happens next. Yep. We’re going to draw into our life, people and events that don’t feel that great and might even be awful.
Case in point. Last year we were in Los Angeles and had talked with five year old LJ about possibly going to Disney and staying in a hotel overnight so she and her brother could stay for the fireworks without a long drive home late at night.
We changed our minds about the hotel and decided, what the heck, the kids could stay up for one night, and so we told them we weren’t going to stay in a hotel after all, but they could still stay for the fireworks and light show. All seemed fine.
The day of our trip, it was freezing cold and I mean bone chilling. Even with hats and scarves and coats it was one of those California days when nothing keeps you warm. By about 6 o’clock LJ’s little brother was shivering with cold…me too…so we decided not to stay any later, we’d all get back to the car, put on the heater and head home.
LJ heard the news, stood silently for a moment and then in no uncertain terms told us we were promise breakers: first of all we’d said they could stay in a hotel (truth be told, since she never said anything when we mentioned this, we never knew, in her eyes it was a broken promise) then we said they could stay for the fireworks and now they couldn’t even do that. She turned on her heels and ran away, crying with disappointment.
We felt awful.
We stood in stunned silence, well one of us went to get the little sprite so she didn’t get too far away, but the rest of the family stood there totally aware that what she said was true. What we’d thought of as just an idea, she had seen as a promise from adult to kids and she held us to a higher standard than we were holding ourselves.
Long story short, LJ and the men of the household stayed to see the fireworks and light show whilst the womenfolk and her little brother went back to warm ourselves up in the car.
Her hands felt icy cold when it was all over, but her inner radiance at seeing the ‘best thing in the whole world‘ had kept her as warm as toast on the inside.
Five year olds sometimes teach the best lessons.
We need to live so that when our children think of fairness and integrity, it’s us they have in mind. Can we say that about ourselves?
If we’ve committed to doing something…we need to step up to the plate and follow through. No more excuses. No more I’m too busy right now. Integrity is the cornerstone of our final successes.
No matter who we are, we can’t get around the laws of nature. We’re always working with, and operating, the sometimes mysterious laws of life that exist permanently in our world. We can’t shut them off and say, oh let’s just be out of integrity in this instance, who’ll notice?
Or how about:
It’s okay to tell a lie right now. I’ll just tell a little white one.
I don’t have to honour the agreements I made ALL the time, especially when I’ve got something much more important to do.
Even today, with all the information we have at our fingertips on how the laws of life operate, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand the relationship beween our consciousness and what happens in our lives.
Everyone wants more or less the same thing in life, to feel happy and joyful, to be healthy and not to be concerned as to how the next bill is going to be paid.
One of the definitions of integrity is a state of being whole, entire, undiminished.
To live a genuinely successful life, filled with people who make our heart sing and to enjoy experiences that lift our hearts in bliss, we need a strong and deep foundation, undiminished by short term gratifying choices that lead to a longer term sullying of our soul.
I’m not saying that there aren’t times when, for perfectly valid reasons we can’t do what we promised…but we have to be up front about it and make it a rare thing rather than have it be an integral part of who we are and what we do.
We need to choose wisely, we are for ever in the process of making and building our life and we might talk a good talk, but are we walking a good walk?
Enquiring minds want to know…what were your first lessons in integrity? Are you out of integrity more times than you might care to admit?
Leave your comments below and let us know how you manage to live in the state of being whole, entire and undiminished.
As always your thoughts and insights could be the very thing someone in our global community needed to hear today.
And thanks for reading and being willing to share your thoughts.
Encourage one another.
32 thoughts on “Walking Your Talk: The Magic Key To Success”
Elle, I try to walk the talk as best as I can, but I have to say that sometimes, I wander off track. However, I do believe that you can’t be truly successful unless you really make an effort to stay aligned and practice what you preach. Really enjoyed this post.
That’s key Anne-Sophie…practicing what we preach. And there’s no either/or…we do or we don’t. Not a bad reminder for all of us I think. 🙂
Gosh…I used to keep my word to others…but I would break it with myself…in small ways, but that mattered. For example, I might say if I stayed focused all-day I could have the reward of a fresh fruit bowl. But when it came time to cut the fruit, I would be feeling lazy and get a granola bar instead (still nourishing, but not in the delight my self, “treat ” kind of way.) I saw how that affected my ability to trust myself in general, and I began to be impeccable with my word (one of Don Miguel Ruiz Four Agreements) with *me* and that change improved my overall confidence and clarity.
Great point Joy, that you broke trust with yourself and I like the phrase, being impeccable with your word. That’s lovely. 🙂
Elle, what I noticed was that your mother insisted on rock solid integrity from you at an early age. It’s a lesson best learned very young so that it forms the bedrock of our character. Good job, Mum!
I will confess to not always liking it Dore, but you are right, it becomes the foundation of who we are.. 🙂
I had this same talk with my mom, too. As I got older though, I sometimes didn’t tell her about my first offer. After taking the second one, I would feel horrible. I knew that my mother was so right!! Now I say the same to my children. Your story about LJ is wonderful. So glad it had a happy ending for all!
Thanks for these reminders about integrity! I’m taking them to heart.
That’s funny Betsy…I never thought of taking the second offer and saying nothing about the first. But anyway, as you say, it doesn’t really feel good so maybe it’s a good thing! I think that maybe we write what we, ourselves, need to hear too Betsy and writing about integrity, reminds me to stay on track. Not to worry about what other people may or may not be doing, but just keep doing what I’ve committed to as best as I can.
It’s really, really nice to have you back. 🙂
Love your posts, your unique perspective makes the blog very wonderful.
Thank you so much Dore. Your kind words warm my heart. 🙂
I remember those lessons as a child as well, Elle. Not so good to shop around for the best “deal” when it comes to friendships, and commitments, as well as commitments to ourselves. I feel I do follow through most of the time. If I’ve overcommitted and am running late, I keep reminding myself of that old saying, “Better late, than never.” I feel that it is better to follow through on your word, or if you cannot, be honest and up front about it. Then readjust so that you make it up in some way. Great post!
You hit the nail on the head here Cathy…being upfront and honest…and funnily enough it makes it so much easier on everyone. 🙂
“If we’ve committed to doing something…we need to step up to the plate and follow through.”–Very well said! I couldn’t agree more. Dependability is a character trait that I admire in people and strive to achieve myself. Loved this post 🙂
Welcome and thanks for joining in the conversation Tamera…you’re so right, it is about dependability…like your definition a lot. And thanks for your kind words, all encouragement greatly appreciated. 🙂
I’m going to get to work on a commitment I made. I love this “One of the definitions of integrity is a state of being whole, entire, undiminished.” Kids do keep us honest don’t they!
I know the feeling Tess…there are times when I’ve over committed myself…oh well…time to step up to the plate. And what you say is so true, kids just cut straight through all the bs. 🙂
Elle, you’ve gotten me pumped up! “If we’ve committed to doing something…we need to step up to the plate and follow through. No more excuses.” I love it! Thanks for the kick in the pants. 🙂
That’s so cool Victor, glad it was a helpful post for you. 🙂
Well…..as I think I “vibrate” and it is my vibrational offering that equals my point of attraction. So it is always a match. What I am thinking and what is coming back to me is always a vibrational match. So if I want to have (manifest) people with integrity in my life I have to honor my commitments to them. Well…it is not easy road to take, but as I always say: first thing is awareness…
Thank you so much for bringing the subject up!!
With Love, E 🙂
Hi Emilia. *love* your thoughts and perspective on this topic. It always begins with us doesn’t it? 🙂
Hi Elle – I think we over-commit ourselves, at least I do, in order not to hurt another person or with an intention to want to be there for them. That’s not always possible and we do have to disappoint them sometimes, if we’re not able to follow through. So, starting by saying no or determining early on if we’re able to commit or not is a way to live with more integrity! So, in my book, saying ‘no’ more often will disappoint others initially but at least they’ll know ahead of time if we can commit to helping them, showing up for their event or doing an activity with them.
Funny you should say that Vishnu…it happens to be one of the challenges I’ve had to deal with…and every now and then still do…the ability to say no. I like how you put it, better to say no and disappoint early on and stay in integrity. A much better feeling place to operate from. So appreciate you sharing your insights with us. 🙂
This is beautiful!!! Yes, hard to admit to oneself, but one is always looking for faster, better, higher…. And when push comes to shove, whether one acts out on the impulse or not, the temptation arises strongly to choose what our impulses dictate. Reading your post just put things into such a wonderful perspective. Simple, yet succinct.
Wlecome Jyotsna and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. So glad you liked the post and hope to see you around here again with some more of your thoughts. 🙂
Thank you Elle for the great reminder to always be true to ourselves no matter what. Authenticity is one of those messages that I/we need to hear on a regular basis because it is relatively easy to rationalize other ways to be in the world. Ultimately it is impossible to “fool” the Universe any more than we can fool ourselves but that doesn’t seem to stop from some from trying. Anyway, as I said, thanks for the reminder to always “walk our talk.” ~Kathy
Wow Kathy, love your thoughts…’aint it the truth…we think we can fool creation…and it’s good for all of us to be reminded. I think I sometimes write these reminders for myself too. 🙂
Another wonderful article, Elle . . .
I must have been 8 or 9 when my father delivered my first full-on meeting with Integrity. He had given me a small amount of money to buy a “decent” necktie to wear on Sundays. When instead I returned home with a marvelous pistol-shaped pea shooter and no necktie, he found it inconceivable that I would/could “embezzle” his funds ! The next hour or so of discourse was invested in my grasping with crystal clear certainty the non-compromising meaning of Honour and Integrity. Over the ensuing decades, I have often thought of that day as my first true spiritual lesson. And that spiritual education continues today with your stimulating articles. Thank you !
Write on, Elle !
Wonderful story Joseph. Interesting how many of us were taught the beginnings of integrity as part of our spiritual evolvement when we are knee high to a grasshopper. So appreciate you sharing. 🙂
I believe sometimes because “a better offer might come along” is the reason we have so many people who refuse to make a decision or make a commitment about anything. That way, if someone else makes the decision and they don’t like it, they can play the blame game. The commitment-phobes have no idea the stress and mayhem they cause!
Hi Melissa, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to join in the conversation. What a great comment. I’d forgotten that there are those amongst us who are waiting for the best offer. Thanks for your insight and perspective, very useful to remember. 🙂
Hi, true indeed, integrity is knowing what is right, being honest and committed to what we said. It reflects our personality, who we are and what we are capable of doing. It earns respect and dignity. Thanks for sharing another great post!
Love your life perspective Sherill…it’s pretty inspiring. 🙂