Integrity- Living In or Out
Point to Ponder:
Are you living in integrity?
How good are you to your word? I know this is a heavy question however I’m bringing it up because integrity is one of iGnite’s four core values and “Act with Integrity” is one of our 21 fundamentals. Integrity can mean slightly different things to everyone, but for iGnite it means to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing in every action we take and in every decision we make, even when no one is looking. It means to be impeccable with our word, to follow through and finish what we start. Integrity for iGnite also means we are who we say we are: an empowering, inspiring and encouraging fitness and lifestyle community for women.
I admit, in this health and fitness explosion era we live in (a fitness opportunity on every street block, infomercials, quick fixes and fitness insta-celebrities), there is plenty of temptation to deviate from who we are and follow the popular trends, but that would be a violation of our integrity, and we won’t do it. Will we experiment by trying new things? Absolutely! However, you won't find us following trends and chasing unicorns. Rather, we committed to our core values as well as our authenticity, which is being the absolute best at who-we-are— an empowering, inspiring and encouraging fitness and lifestyle community for women (period).
How about integrity for you? What does it mean to you and how are your words and language affecting your relationships, your goals and your life? Because we, iGnite, are committed to investing in your whole self (body mind and spirit) I wanted to share an excellent article in Experience Life by Cat Thompson that takes a fascinating and internal look at integrity. Thompson focuses on how our everyday actions and words/language (that we may or may not be aware of) are either in or out of integrity and are having a positive or negative impact on our lives. You know..saying "yes" when we really mean "no". Over-committing for the sake of pleasing others? Using words about yourself or others are that are not in integrity--words that are unkind, untrue and unnecessary.
For the sake of living in our own integrity and growth (two of our core values), I encourage you to take the next five minutes and read Cat's article and then answer the integrity questions below. It will be an enlightening experiment and one that I hope will lead each of us to living in greater integrity with ourselves, our relationships and our entire lives!
Words are powerful forces of creation. Every time we speak, we create a road of some sort. The quality of that road, and how far it goes, will be directly related to the integrity of our word.
What exactly is integrity? According to the dictionary, integrity is “the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards, and the state of being complete, undivided, sound or undamaged.” Integrity, then, is having high principles and keeping those standards consistent throughout all the different parts of the self
One of the first places integrity issues show up is in our language patterns. When we are “in integrity,” we speak from a place of wholeness. When we break from this pattern and say things we don’t really mean, we move “out of integrity.”
Language is meant to power our dreams into physical reality. Personal power comes from being in integrity and diminishes whenever our integrity is undermined.
There are three questions to ask yourself before you ‘speak the truth.’ One: Are you certain it’s true? Two: Is it necessary? And three: Is it kind?” Ideally, your statements will pass all three tests. Occasionally, in the interest of ethics, you may find yourself called upon to say something that you know to be true and feel to be necessary, but that doesn’t seem particularly kind. In these situations, you have to examine your own intent (is it coming from a place of love or care for a greater good?). Then, if you do decide to share the information, do it with care and appropriate timing.
Once we stop to examine the impact that language has on integrity, an important question looms: If we are out of integrity with language, can we be in integrity anywhere else in our lives? Think about your integrity in relationships, at work, in your body. If you are unable to speak honestly and kindly to yourself, will you speak kindly and honestly to others? If you are unable to keep your word to yourself, will it be possible for you to do it for anyone else?
Think for a moment about how reliably you keep your word. How often do you say yes when you really mean no – when you realize on some level you have no intention of following through on that yes? How often do you promise yourself something and then, when the time comes, you conveniently forget your promise, or don’t have the time, or don’t want to allocate the resources necessary to keep your word? All of these things sabotage our ability to achieve our goals.
So what can we do to get back into integrity? The first thing would be to examine our language and make the necessary adjustments toward telling the truth, even in small ways. When your sister-in-law calls to invite you over for Friday-night cocktails and you’re not certain you’re up for it, be truthful. Tell her, “I appreciate the invitation, but I’d like to wait to decide. I am having a tough week and I might be exhausted by then.” Or simply say, “No thanks, I’ve committed myself to spending the evening filing papers and straightening my desk.”
If you are afraid others will be offended by your truth, ask yourself if you really want to be spending time with people to whom you have to lie on a regular basis. It may be that for you to get into integrity, you have to do some housecleaning of your relationships. And don’t be fearful – if some of your relationships go out with the recycling, well, that’s more room for building relationships with people you can be honest with.
There is a particular cycle of guilt to watch out for in this area. Often, someone will give her word to show up for something and then be unable to either do it at all or complete it fully. This then makes her feel guilty, so she agrees to do something more to make up for her incompletion. She’s then unable to complete the next agreement, and out of guilt and shame makes yet another. This can lead to a cycle of broken agreements with the same person over and over, until the relationship finally ends with a bang. Pay attention to why you are making agreements, particularly if you know up front that you are not energized to keep them.
If you are in the habit of breaking your agreements with yourself, you may need to dig a little deeper. For instance, there may be some part of you that doesn’t feel you deserve to achieve your goal, and will thus sabotage your action plan to keep you from having to confront those underlying emotions. There may be a part of you that is frightened of success because of a childhood imprint that says success leads to criticism or loneliness. On the other hand, you may also be making agreements “with yourself” that are really more about pleasing or impressing other people, or fulfilling their agenda. Identifying a pattern of broken promises here may really point up a division in your own priorities, in which case you must decide whether you identify more strongly with the part of you that is making these promises, or with the part that is breaking them.
You will find yourself to be a much happier person when your words match your intentions and when your actions match your words. You will find yourself sleeping better when there are no niggling half-truths keeping you awake at night.
As your word becomes more and more powerful, your reality will begin to reflect that. As you speak from a place of integrity, and use powerful language in the service of your highest choices, you will start to manifest those choices very much as you have described them. When that happens, you’ll know you are on the right path and headed in the best possible direction – the direction of your dreams.
Where (work, relationships, fitness, priorities, money) are you in or out of integrity?
How can you improve your integrity, and how would it feel to reestablish integrity in all areas of your life?
What excuses or mistaken belief systems are you currently using to stay out of integrity? At what cost to yourself or others?
Wielding Your Words
How often do you make agreements with yourself?
How many of those agreements do you keep?
Do you trust yourself to keep your word?
Do you always mean yes when you say it?
Are you comfortable saying no?
If so, are you direct with your no?
Can others depend on you to keep your word? Always?
In what situations are you most prone to fib, or to withhold or "bend" the truth?
Are you prone to gossip or to self-critical statements?
Do you "walk your talk," or do you tend to say one thing and do another?
Do you reserve your most powerful language for building up people and ideas, or for tearing them down?
Do you have a personal code for knowing when to speak up, and when to keep something to yourself?
Take one action to become more "in integrity" with yourself and/or with others.
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