Have you ever found yourself procrastinating, failing to get something done that you need to do? Do you ever say yes to things that you can’t, or don’t, follow through on? Do you find yourself giving in to what others think even though deep inside you know it isn’t right? Have you said “white lies” to keep the peace? Or is there someone in your life that has, or is doing, these things?
If you say yes to any of these things, this does not make you, or whoever you said yes for, a bad person. This is not about judging you, or someone in your life. This is about recognizing something that can affect all aspects of your life—a lack of integrity can create guilt, inaction, frustration, etc. It can lead to overeating, fatigue, relationship issues, financial worries, an inability to lose weight, stop smoking, and stop drinking, etc.
It is important to recognize when you have a lack of integrity so that you can rebuild your integrity. When we operate from integrity people know who we are and what we stand for. We are dependable and trustworthy. We create confidence. We feel good about who we are. We do and say things that enhance our mental and physical health. We make positive progress in our lives and health, and people want to be around us.
Integrity is defined as the adherence to moral and ethical principles; having a soundness of moral character; being honest.
Ok, so what does that really mean? When you have integrity you are respectful to yourself and to other people. Even if others have differing views, they know where you stand and you know where they stand—you can co-exist peacefully. With integrity you are reliable. If you say you will do something, you follow through and get it done. If you are unable to do this, you “own” up to it and make amends. You are trustworthy and honest to yourself and others. You are truthful and if you find you made an error, you do not ignore it; you correct the error. This is not about being right or wrong, it is about knowing who you are, what you stand for, and consistently following those “standards”.
Let’s explore this since many people are confused about this.
In a nutshell: Ethics looks at the big moral picture while integrity focuses on personal characteristics.
Karen Christensen gives a great synopsis of the difference: “Morality and Ethics are normative concepts, and they deal with good and bad, right vs wrong. Morality refers to society’s standards of right and wrong behavior for individuals and groups within that society, while ethics refers to the normative set of values that apply to all members of a group or organization.
Thus, both morality and ethics relate to desirable vs. undesirable behavior.”
Essentially, ethics and morals are what our society as a whole deems ok or not ok, right or wrong, etc.
Integrity is a more personal character trait. It is about adhering to a certain code of moral and ethical principles. It is truly about knowing who you are and sticking to that, even if no one is watching. You are true to your values and what you stand for in life. You don’t give in to others trying to coerce you into doing something that does not “feel” right. Your actions reflect your inner values and beliefs.
When you say one thing and do another, it creates a lack of alignment between your values and actions. Over time you lose credibility with others and with yourself. It may not even be a conscious realization inside your mind, but deep down you stop believing the things that you tell yourself you are going to do. You may tell yourself that you will stop drinking, eat healthier, exercise more, spend quality time with those you love, read more, save more money, etc. On the conscious level, these things sound great. Inside your mind, your mind is really thinking “Yeah, right. You have said a lot of things like this before and did not follow through on it, so why would this time be any different?”.
Every time you do not keep a promise to yourself or to others, or you behave in a way that goes against your values, you fall further into a lack of integrity. You are basically telling yourself it is ok to tell yourself one thing and do something different. Of course, things like this can happen on occasion to anyone, but if this is a repeated occurrence it can create damage and needs to be dealt with.
When you have integrity, It is often defined as “what it takes for a person to whole and complete.” This means that your actions line up with your thoughts. You are in alignment and this feels great!
1. Know your values.
What is it that you value? Make a list of the things that you value, that you stand for. Make the list that is true for you, not what you think it should be. Examples: love, respect, kindness, health, etc. Then define what they mean for you and what does it look like to have them?
2. Pay attention to your thoughts.
Since thoughts dictate our actions, become aware of your thoughts. When your thoughts lose touch with your values, catch this and change your thoughts. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, tell yourself “stop it, this is not me” and remind yourself of the values that you stand for.
3. Honor your word.
No matter how small something is, ensure that you do what you said you would do and by the time that you said you would do it. When you commit to something, do it fully and give it your full heart. It is ok if you try and fail. If you give something your full effort and it “fails”, it is a learning experience, not a failure. If you do not feel that you can follow through on something do not commit to it. Do not commit to anything based upon guilt, fear, or obligation. Commit to the things that you want to do and know that you can do. Be honest with yourself and others about what you are capable of doing. If you are unsure if you can commit to something, ask for some time to think about it and get back to the person on your answer. If you commit to something and are unable to honor your word – immediately clean this up by informing the person or parties when you will be honoring your word and reschedule, or help them to find a replacement person.
For example, if you are trying to lose weight and have not been exercising then commit to the exercise that you know you can and will do. Often people commit to five days a week and then when they don’t follow through, it is an attack on their integrity. It is better to commit to two days a week of ten minutes that you follow through on instead of committing to five days a week for a half hour that you fail to do. The first commitment, although seemingly insignificant, will build integrity and over time you will build upon your actions and increase what you do. Commit to what you will do and it will build your integrity.
4. Have forgiveness for yourself and others.
We are all human and we will make errors even with the best of intentions. All of us have different values and beliefs. This can create miscommunication which can result in anger, frustration, etc. It is important to be forgiving of yourself and others—respecting each other for who we are. Each day practice forgiveness. I love the Ho’Oponopono forgiveness ritual (covered in a past article). (Ho’oponopono Meditation: Hawaiian Prayers for Healing and Forgiveness (alignedandwell.com)
By doing these things, you will find yourself building integrity. Things in your life that seemed like a struggle will become easy. You will find that you start achieving things like great health, weight loss, healthy relationships, financial freedom, etc. By having integrity, you will be able to finally follow through and make lasting changes in your life.
If you are facing difficulties making changes in your life: health, relationships, work, finances, etc.; I encourage you to ask for help and Embrace Your Power Daily. Having a guide can make your path to an optimal you much easier. Improving your life takes patience, flexibility, perseverance and lots of self-love. It also takes consistency, intentionality, and often times guidance in upgrading your subconscious reprogramming by utilizing the help of a Results Coach that guides you and keeps you accountable.
See the links in this blog for access to my videos, content and challenges that will help you find true wellness in your Mind, Body and Spirit. You will start creating patterns of success that will shift how people see, hear and interact with you going forward in the days, weeks and months.