Integrity. Have you ever been accused of being out of it? What does it actually mean to be out of integrity? More importantly, what can you do to regain it?
I’m not an expert at being in integrity. In fact, for a great part of my life, I’ve been out of integrity in many areas of my life – money, life purpose, relationships, and sexuality, to name a few.
The paradox about integrity is that, in order to learn about integrity, one must first learn about being out of integrity. As the old saying goes, “Every master was first a disaster.”
What does it mean to be in Integrity?
The word integrity – as well as the word integral – comes from the Latin integritas, meaning undivided, unified, or one with the whole. Being in integrity is the capacity to be in alignment with what you believe, your values, your word, or anything else that you stand for or believe in your heart is true.
In essence, when you are in integrity you are in alignment.
How can you tell when you’re out of Integrity?
When you’re out of alignment with what you know deep in your heart is true and real for you, you’ll experience this as a feeling or a sense of being disconnected from the whole.
And you can experience this in three basic areas: with yourself, others and the Universe (or God, Spirit, or simply ‘Natural Law’.)
Out of Integrity with yourself
You feel like something feels off or just isn’t right. There’s an inner sense that something is out of alignment, and you experience emotional discomfort, anger, grief, sadness or feelings of helplessness. This can lead to having trouble sleeping at night, or simply being able to fully concentrate or focus on what’s in front of you.
Out of Integrity with others
Your friends, family, or business partner will complain, confront you, or call you out for being out of integrity. You’ll feel disconnected from them, maybe even avoid them. And when you do connect, you avoid at all costs speaking about the event or situation that is causing the disturbance mostly to avoid feeling guilty or ashamed.
Out of Integrity with the Universe
You feel stuck as if what you want in the external world is not happening at all, or it’s taking too long to manifest. You feel disconnected from the natural rhythm of life and feel as if you’re swimming against the current. As a result, you feel alone and disconnected from God, Spirit or Source.
7 Steps to Move Towards Greater Integrity
One of the most powerful awareness-raising tools I use in my coaching is Nathaniel Branden‘s 5% incremental awareness, sentence completion exercises. When combined with a heart-brain coherence building practice, it will help you move towards greater integrity.
Step 1: Choose an Area you’d like to improve
Choose one area of your life – specific person, client, circumstance, or situation – where you might be out of integrity. Example, your primary relationship, a particular client, or simply your relationship with money
Step 2: Ask yourself, “In what way I am being out of integrity?”
What is it that you’re doing or not doing to allow or promote the lack of integrity in this particular situation, relationship or area of your life? What is the truth you’re not living or revealing out of fear of hurting, inconveniencing or angering others? What are you most afraid will happen?
Step 4: Feel the pain of being out of integrity
Give yourself permission to feel the pain of being out of integrity. Be willing to accept and embrace any feelings of emotional pain, anger, shame, or guilt that may arise when you think about the situation you are out of integrity with. Appreciate these feelings as a built-in mechanism to help you recognize the misalignment, and bring you back home to yourself.
Step 5: Activate the heart-brain coherence
Take a few moments to breathe slowly, deeply and evenly into your heart, as you evoke the feelings of care and self-compassion. A great way to do this is by following the instructions on my guided meditation on Truth, part of the 12 Virtues of the Heart Meditation Series. This guided process will help you grow in your awareness of the deeper truth held in your heart.
Step 6: Boost your integrity by 5%
Ask your heart for help in completing the following sentence a minimum of 10 times, creating a list of items you would do if you were just 5% more in integrity. Let the answers flow naturally, don’t force them.
If I was 5% more aware of being in integrity with regards to _________, then I would ____________.
Examples you can use:
If I was 5% more aware of being in integrity with regards to…
the path I’ve chosen to follow
the kind of relationship I want to be in
what I told my partner I would do
the kind of lifestyle I want to create
what my heart is telling me to do
Step 7: Take Action
This is an action-driven universe. Nothing, absolutely nothing will bring you in greater integrity with the Universe itself than taking powerful, inspired action. So get out there and do whatever it takes to let your Universe know that you’re ready to come back into its natural flow.
The Truth Shall Set You Free
Being in integrity is about having the courage to tell yourself the truth while being honest with others. Telling yourself or others what is ultimately true for you regarding a particular situation, person or thing is what ultimately sets you free and allows you to come home to yourself. And when you come home to yourself, you inevitably force others to come home to themselves.
From this perspective, more than society’s pre-conditioned ideas of what is morally right or wrong, integrity is a way of being or showing up for yourself and others that leads to greater freedom and alignment with yourself, others and all of Life.
What would you start doing differently tomorrow if you were just 5% in greater integrity with yourself?
Feel free to leave me your comments below.
From my heart to yours.
Photo by Alina Miroshnichenko