What is integrity?
The word integrity is often associated to honesty or just being “yourself.”
In the word “integrity”, there is the latin word “integer” which means whole or complete. Therefore a more complete definition of integrity needs to include elements of cohesion and consistency. Integrity indeed goes well beyond honesty.
When we have integrity, it means that:
- We have consciously chosen our personal values, independently of culture or family of origin.
- We have committed to our values for the long-term and have oriented our life based on these values.
- We have remained steadfast with our values regardless of circumstances and temptations to change them depending on our feelings in the moment.
- We have consistently aligned our words and our actions. We walk our talk. We walk our self-talk and we walk our talk with others.
- We speak to others with sincerity and truthfulness, and we take responsibility and make amends when we make mistakes.
When we’re looking for a life-long partner, having integrity and choosing a partner who has integrity are essential. It's the foundation on which to build a solid relationship house.
Here is why:
- Because relationships require compatible values, partners who want to live the rest of their life together need to know what values they are going to ground their purpose into, so that they can figure out if they are compatible. Different people's values don't have to be a perfect match but they must be able to coexist harmoniously.
- Relationships require steadfastness as partners go through life's ups and downs. Life partners must have demonstrated the ability to commit to something for the long-term. Nothing beats having first committed to one’s values for a long time to demonstrate this ability to oneself and to someone else.
- Life partners must deeply understand that feelings come and go; these are always true and valid in the moment, but must not affect their value system.
- Relationship partners must be able to move beyond intention. Having good intentions is easy; turning them into concrete actions is more difficult, but crucial to fulfill one's life purpose and to have fulfilling relationships. Actions always speak louder than words, especially consistent actions.
- In conversations, partners must speak with sincerity, honesty and authenticity. Practicing mindfulness helps evolve from reactivity to authenticity. When we have integrity, we don’t consciously or unconsciously test or manipulate others. We say what we mean and we mean what we say. With kindness.
Now what if we feel challenged with this topic?
First, please realize that your True Self - the whole, complete, relaxed part of you - has already perfect integrity because you are already complete and whole as a human being. Yes, even if at times it does not feel that way!
Therefore feeling challenged does not come from not having integrity, but from all the layers of difficult experiences, unprocessed feelings and defense mechanisms that have been built up throughout your life and that now stand in the way of your natural integrity.
You don't have to build integrity; you have to remove what is in the way of your innate perfect integrity.
If you want to think, speak and act from this natural state of integrity, make a commitment to look at what is in the way and go from there.
The most important though is to NOT delegate this task to your Inner Critic. You do not want this critical part of you to grab this intention and use it to berate or belittle you. Your reconnection with integrity must stem from your True Self - from your beautiful human conscience. It’s already there. Don't let any other part of you convince your True Self otherwise!
And if you are already thinking, speaking and acting with integrity, please consider developping relationships with people who are too. As you go on dates, ask questions and observe how your prospective partners live their life. When you make friends and build professional collaborations, look for integrity as well.
Relationships between people who have integrity lead to less confusion, less mixed signals and much, much less suffering.
When it comes to building happy, healthy and life-long relationships, you can't go wrong with integrity!