Integrity is one of those concepts whose depth of meaning sometimes gets diminished in the commonality of its usage. Integrity is most often associated with honesty, fairness, and morality. However, if we reflect on its etymological origins (Latin – integritās) of wholeness, entireness, and completeness, we can connect with a more holistic image of ourselves and identify what elements are integral to our creating a balanced and full life.
Living a life of integrity is living a life that aligns with your values, optimizes your strengths, and nurtures your best Self. It is being aware of your priorities and principles so the energy you expend and choices you make support your sense of purpose. Although we cannot disavow the knowledge that comes from intellect and experience, we should not underestimate the wisdom of our instinct and intuition, for that is how our core character communicates.
Although becoming conscious of integrity requires additional time and focus, in the long run it will save you much stress and struggle. Future challenges and opportunities will be seen with more clarity and insight. Decisions will be easier, regrets fewer, and relationships more rewarding. The following are some tips to help you integrate the value of integrity in your day-to-day life.
Identify and live your values.
Notice your feelings.
Take time to align momentary choices with long-term goals.
Educate yourself on the impact of your attitudes and actions.
Give your opinion as a gift, not a judgement or demand.
Receive the opinions of others as a gift, not a judgment or demand.
Imagine the competing pieces of life as part of the same puzzle.
Youth passions provide clues to happy adults – listen to your inner child.
- Where does integrity show up most in your life?
- What areas of your life do you feel that integrity is lacking?
- What does it feel like when you are acting with integrity? What does it feel like when you are out of integrity?
- What public figures or private acquaintances do you think of as living a life of integrity? What qualities or behaviors demonstrate integrity?
- Identify an annoyance you are living with or something you’ve been meaning to do. What will it take for you to complete that task in the coming week? What will it feel like when it is off your ‘to do’ list?
Stacey Zackin, PhD, MSW, PCC (Manager, WORK_SPACE)