I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what integrity is and how I manifest it (or not) in my own life. Often we think integrity is the same as morality, but it’s not. Integrity is not about right and wrong. Here’s how I define it:
INTEGRITY = living your life in a way that leaves nothing to hide
The fear of being ‘found out’ that many people experience comes from living without integrity. If I just think about the things I’ve been hiding: a multitude of broken promises to myself and others, words that I never said out loud because I was too embarrassed or too angry or too proud, failures I didn’t want anyone to know about, and resentment that I kept to myself. Hiding things from myself and others was consuming my life and whilst I thought I was living a life of my choice, I was actually living a life dictated by the need to hide, constantly alert, always tired. Just waiting for someone to find me out.
Well someone did find me out. I did!! And there’s no turning back. That’s the marvellous though occasionally infuriating thing about self-awareness: once you’re aware of something it’s impossible to go back to ignorance. And here I am now, painfully aware of my own tendency to brush things aside and ignore them when it ‘gets too much’, but also willing to clean up the messes I’ve made, heal the broken promises as best I can, and to make sure I let people know how I really feel.
Because as much work as it might take to get your integrity back, the upside is invaluable: a life without hiding, a life where everything I do and how I do it is a direct reflection of who I am as a person. Definitely a life worth pursuing.