If you’re reading this you either accidentally stumbled on this page or you’ve already read my last blog post about integrity. Either way, welcome. If you haven’t read my last article I’d suggest you start with that first before reading any further. That post can be found here.
To recap, I define integrity as a degree of consistency or agreement between your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. I find it plain, to the point and accurate. Traditional definitions include notions of perfection, morality, ethics and other niceties whether or not they are relevant. Not that I have a problem with morality or ethics, but including those notions brings along with it a lot of subjective opinions and judgments about the idea of integrity that I find tends to obscure the concept of what integrity actually is. That invites inaccurate thinking, which isn’t good for anybody. So let me state that definition again:
Integrity is a degree of consistency or agreement between your thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
You do what you say and you say what you do. If you feel like singing you sing. If you think something nice about someone you let them know about it. If you make yourself a promise you follow through with it. To me, someone who generally lives their life like that most of the time is a person of integrity, or more specifically lives life with a high degree of integrity.
Does that mean they never slip up on their habits, forget about commitments, drop a ball once in a while or even say something that isn’t true? No, of course not. That isn’t realistic for anybody and that’s the reason why I removed perfection from my definition of integrity. It’s a set of skills, and no one has it down perfectly. Even the greatest musician in the world still skips a beat once in a while.
What does this have to do with Thoughtwriting? More generally, what does integrity have to do with living a directed, intentional life of empowerment, achievement and joy? Well, it’s no accident that people who display a very high degree of integrity tend to lead more successful, happier lives. A lot of this has to do with the relationships they have. If people generally trust what you say and do then you’re probably going to have an easier time with your relationships in life, and as they say “It’s not what you know but who you know”. To me that seems fairly obvious but let’s leave that, what you might call “interpersonal integrity”, on the table for now and dig a little deeper.
In my last blog post I mentioned that integrity is a core identity that we all have. Let me explain a little more about that. Consider that your personality is a collection of hundreds or thousands of smaller parts. Some of them are the voices in your head. Some of them are the beliefs you have, others are the fears you have. Some embody what brings you joy and some seem to always want to get in your way. Some psychologists call these “subselves”. Others call them identities.
For every way of being that you have there is an identity behind it. When you’re angry a different identity is in play than when you’re on a roller coaster (unless you’re pissed off while riding a roller coaster…which then creates a new identity around anger and riding a roller coaster). For every skill set you have there is an identity, and every skill in that skill set is also an identity. For every memory you have there also is an identity, and each memory is composed of smaller identities or related identities by association. The totality of all of those identities relating to all aspects of your life then make up your personality. Each of these identities were created by you through your ability of decision.
If that makes sense, if you can buy the idea that your personality is the culmination of thousands or millions of identities created by you through your decisions, then ask yourself this question: “Are all of the constituents of my personality in alignment with each other?”
Unless you’re a perfect human being who never makes mistakes, always and without fail completes every intention and you live a life of complete and total honesty within yourself and in your relationships, the answer obviously is no. So you are a work in progress. All of us are. Welcome to the human condition.
Integrity is a core identity all of us have. It’s been there since birth and possibly before even that. It is and always has been our sense of consistency among all of our other identities that we create and pick up throughout life. In a sense it’s an internal measure of how much we trust ourselves. That is vitally important because if we have a high degree of trust within ourselves, or a high degree of integrity, then that directly impacts how much our intentions in life come to fruition. I’ll get into that more in my next blog post.
For now just sit with the idea that you have an inner sense of consistency between the thousands of identities that make up your thoughts and behaviors, how those behaviors play out, the words you choose in expressing your thoughts and the underlying feelings you have behind all of the above. I call this inner sense of consistency among all of these things integrity.
Your level of awareness about where your sense of integrity is at any given moment plays an enormous part in your ability to realize your intentions in life. I’ll go even further to say that your level of awareness concerning your integrity plays an enormous part in what you manifest, or see showing up, in your life. This “manifesting” that we all do is something I don’t think anyone can explain fully but is something I think all of us innately knows whether we are willing to admit it or not.
How well we are able to manifest our desires, or how skilled we are at the art of manifesting what we desire is directly connected to our own sense of integrity and our level of awareness of how consistent we are between our feelings, thoughts, words and actions.
So integrity isn’t just a measure of outward trustworthiness. It isn’t just about our honest interactions with others, yet our level of honesty with others comes directly from our inner sense of integrity. Tune in next time when I’ll go more in depth into how our sense of integrity is so important in creating the life we choose from day to day.
And do keep up with your writing. Your integrity depends on it 🙂