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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.