Tag Archives: Integrity

AWAKENING TO LIVE HONESTLY

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important matters.”  Albert Einstein

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Do you always tell the truth?  How do you feel about little white lies?  Are you the same person on the outside that you are on the inside?

Our Society Focuses on the External Self

Living in a world that focuses on the external rewards of achievement tends to influence us to think that how we appear is the most important aspect of self.  Our image sells products and sells who we are.  When I started learning about marketing for my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I was startled to discover my name was my brand.  With that concept, it seemed to me that the business aspect of writing separated me from the artistic aspect of me that came from deep within my core.

Writing inspirational material and poetry comes from a very spiritual aspect of my being.  To quantify it and box it up into a presentation that would sell seems very unauthentic; yet, every writer wants to connect with the readers who will buy, appreciate, and perhaps benefit from her work.  The question then became:  How do I sell myself and my book with integrity?

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

This is not just a question for writers.  Many people are daily faced with this question in business and in relationships.  How can I be who I truly am and be appreciated and loved?  At the core of the question is the issue of honesty.

We Are Often Dishonest To Protect Ourselves

Growing up in a family where my mother and father often argued, I became the child who wanted to keep the peace, but I was also taught that it was a very bad thing to be dishonest.  Despite that, there were times when I pretended to agree with my parents or presented a situation as being slightly different from the reality just to keep them from getting upset.  I didn’t feel good about it, but it was part of the survival pattern I developed.

One day when I was a young adult, I thought about my impending marriage and decided I would stop telling “little white lies” to keep the peace.  It wasn’t right and I wanted an honest relationship with my husband.  I knew I could be a better person than I had been and vowed to make this change.  Putting a priority on communicating honestly greatly improved my self-esteem.

Being Honest May Be Challenging

But being honest isn’t always as easy as it sounds because the other person, a spouse, boss or colleague may not like our truth.  There are times when being honest can create huge problems for us.  It may jeopardize a career or relationship.  It may displease people we need to support us in various ways, so we weigh the benefit against the loss.

As Einstein suggests, if we are careless in small matters about being honest, we are most likely to be careless with important issues, and when we have stepped over that line, it may be very difficult to return.  We’ve seen this often in politics.  Richard Nixon is one of the outstanding examples.  Once you know someone has lied to you, it is difficult to trust them after this.

Honesty

Honesty (Photo credit: basswulf)

Honesty Is Basic to Our Spirituality and Wisdom

At the spiritual level, the damage we do to our souls is great when we lie or deceive others.  Thomas Jefferson once said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”  When we live honestly, there is a joy and energy that permeates our lives because we have no fear that our secrets will be revealed, for there are no secrets.  We have nothing to hide.  When we make a mistake, we acknowledge and take responsibility for it.  We act with integrity so that our words and actions match.

When we model a life built on honesty, we inspire others who may be drowning in the lies and secrets of which they are ashamed.  With these burdens weighing people down, how can they like themselves?  The fear that these secrets will be discovered will always be the shadow that hides who they really are and separates them from the sense of being one with All.

Honesty Frees Us to Love Ourselves

When we accept our deep, spiritual self and feel connected with Spirit, we know that we are worthy of love and learn to love ourselves.  When we love ourselves, we know we are worth more than living a life underground, and we have the courage to reveal our true selves, and clean up the messes in our lives.  As we discard our camouflage, we find a freedom and joy that is authentic.  We gradually learn to simply be who we are, and with the confidence that gives us, we no longer need lie or mislead.

What we put out comes back to us.  When we are honest and have integrity, we will draw to us people and circumstances who will relish our honesty.  Whatever falls away was an obstruction to our growth, no matter how painful that loss may be.  It is all a part of the path we follow to wisdom.

©2013 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wayne Dyer: Trust Your Inner SelfWorldly and Spiritual Values:  Humankind May Depend on Rediscovering a Natural Balance, Are You Being Honest With Yourself, Debbie Ford:  Honesty and Integrity (video)

AWAKENING TO RELATIONSHIPS: INTEGRITY, Part 3

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships.  Asking for what you want and need from others.  Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension.  Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values.  Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.”   Barbara De Angelis

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Do you have integrity?  In all situations or just some?  On what beliefs do you base your integrity?  Do you act with integrity when you know it will create difficulties?

Integrity is the third element in what I call the essentials for a good relationship of any kind.  The elements I’ve already written about are empathy and intimacy, and I’ll conclude the series next week with the topic of commitment.

Integrity Strengthens Trust and Love

Integrity is usually defined as being true to your moral or ethical principles, so it has meaning only when it is coupled with a belief system.  In a relationship, acting with integrity can create trust and strengthen love because you learn you can depend on the other person to act in accordance with their values.  This, of course, assumes that you are in a relationship with someone whose values are compatible with yours.

Integrity Begins With Being True To Your Self

I like Barbara De Angelis’ quote because it covers several important aspects of integrity, mainly the idea that we must be true to ourselves if we are to be true to others.  That’s where it starts—being true to yourself.  Only then can you be true to others.  When we always try to please others to the extent that we go against our own values or harm ourselves, we are out of integrity.

What Is Integrity In A Relationship

Years ago, I was in a relationship with a man whom I deeply loved.  We were both creative people and that bound us in a spiritual way that was very powerful.  But over and over, to be with him, I made choices that were not good for me financially.  One time, I cashed out a life insurance policy so I had the money to spend an extended amount of time with him to see if we could live together.  At the time, I was unemployed, but a month before I was to leave to see him, I was offered a good job and I turned it down.  I put the relationship first.

Our relationship had always been off and on because he was afraid of commitment although he clearly loved me, and when things were good between us, they were very good.  But in this case, I had sacrificed my security by turning down a job to be with him and expected him to understand I would need to get work.  He kept insisting that I needed to create my own business and not work for any institution.  He was self-employed and had no respect for people who worked for institutions.

I had tried to be self-employed, but I didn’t have the financial resources he did, so I had to work for other people.  He had a fit over this.  While he was true to his values, he had no respect for my needs—a not unusual dilemma in relationships.  The situation disintegrated from there.  I asked for his understanding and didn’t get it.

At this point, I realized I was settling for a lot less than I deserved.  Clearly, his set of values and mine were not compatible.  I didn’t feel I should have to sacrifice my financial security to be with him, and he couldn’t afford to take care of me, nor did I want him to.  But I was not taking care of myself and I didn’t feel good about that.  However much I disliked the choices this man made in relation to me, he was being true to his own belief system, no matter how selfish I may have judged it.  It became clear that he would not change anything in order to be with me.  At that point, I finally had the sense to walk away.

Being True To Ourselves Empowers Us

What became very clear to me was that, by speaking my mind and not sacrificing what I needed in a relationship, I felt more empowered, although it created conflict.  I found the courage to be more of who I was and committed to living with more integrity in relationships.  I could not live with someone who felt he would be out of integrity in order to meet my needs.

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Integrity Is The Core For Decision-making

Living with integrity helps us to respect ourselves even when it creates difficulty, but without it, we lack an inner core from which to make decisions.  On the other hand, we also need to look at our value system.  Does it allow us to live with integrity and relate to others in a loving and caring way?  Most of us want to be in a relationship in order to share in a deep and loving way, and that may require some compromises.

Relationships Require Compromise

The question is always: what can you compromise and still be true to yourself?  Some couples want to keep the peace no matter what they have to do because they are afraid to explore what is hidden and unknown.  The problem with hiding ourselves is that we can never be loved for who we really are because our partner never knows who we are.  It may never dawn on us that our partner might love us more if they knew who we truly were.

The Value Of Shared Values

It’s not a choice I would make.  I want the person I’m in a relationship with, even in just a friendship, to know who I really am and show me who he really is.  I want the relationship to have integrity based on a shared set of values, and if the price we pay is to disagree sometimes, so be it.  Disagreements hopefully lead to a discussion that leads to a deeper understanding of each other and enriches the relationship.  Besides, making up can be a lot of fun.  It’s all good.

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Selling Out: Compromising Integrity in Intimate Relationships,  Integrity in RelationshipsTrust Your Inner Self – Wayne DyerA Lesson on Integrity from Gandhi