Your Integrity Defines You
How’s that New Year’s Resolution coming along? Were you able to stick to it? Are you still putting in the same kind of committed energy that you started with back in January? Or did you get off to a running start and then find yourself petering out six weeks later? Sticking to your promises to yourself or to others is a key factor in how you measure the integrity you live your life.
Words carry a lot of weight in this world, but it is through our actions that we bring things into being.
This is what we mean when we say to one another that actions speak louder than words. It’s easy to talk about our dreams of wanting a loving relationship, getting a better job, losing those 20 pounds, cleaning out the garage or whatever, but it takes a personal committed energy to take the many small steps that lead to bringing our dreams into reality.
If all we ever do is talk about it, we begin to lose faith in ourselves because nothing changes on the external level. Being all talk and no action is a form of self-sabotage that we create to stop the fear of failure or investing into the laziness of believing “why bother.”
If you’re not where you want to be and you keep on asking yourself why, there may be many reason you run afoul of your intentions. Sometimes we make too-ambitious plans we simply don’t have the skills, energy or power to execute. When facing emotional roadblocks that we don’t know how to get through, we can run out of steam. The forward movement comes to a screeching halt because we simply don’t keep our word to ourselves.
We make promises (“Tomorrow I’ll get up early and go to the gym”), and then break them (“Aww, it’s raining, I think I’ll stay in bed. I’ll go to the gym on my way home”) often for reasons we don’t even understand.
What exactly is integrity? 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 truthful wholeness. Our words match our actions. When you are careless with your integrity, you agree to things too readily but then never seem to be able to show up for it.
You tell little white lies and frequently gossip or are too willing to say something disempowering about yourself. You are also more than willing to have an opinion about something you know very little about.
Rewrite your own rules
No judgement taken at all with those qualities but if you see one or two behavior patterns that are all too familiar, maybe it is time to acquire some rules of respecting the power of your words and yourself. The answer is to rewrite your own rules that look something like this.
- Be impeccable with your word. Make it either yes or no and let the grey area of ‘maybe’ or ‘if I can’ fall out of your mind set when committing to something.
- Use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love for yourself and others. Defending your hurtful words with, “well it’s the truth” falls into the category of needing to be right.
- Integrity always goes way beyond words. If we are out of integrity with language, can we be in integrity anywhere else in our lives? 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 your ability to achieve your goals.
- Allow yourself to say “maybe” or “can I think about that for a moment or a day?” Once you can identify where your word is not “impeccable,” you can then gently begin breaking the habit of making agreements, unless you are absolutely energized by them.
- Let go of the guilt of saying no. No is NOT maybe or “sure, ok” but NO! If you don’t want to do something, then say so. Breaking promises to yourself is just as bad as breaking them to others.
- Choose your words carefully before you make an agreement or a declaration of commitment, whether it is to yourself or others. Sometimes it is just about getting it done, whether you like or not.
Susan Z’s Verdict
Keeping your word requires discipline. Discipline requires motive and motive requires a desire to feel good at the end game. Start small; clean out your closet, write that thank you note or email, give yourself that facial or go see the friend who you have been talking about getting together with forever. Your body will definitely feel that “YES!” energy flow through it and want to experience it again.
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