Integrity is Integral
July 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
I took some courageous steps this week in order to maintain integrity with myself. I am one of those people who is normally quite adept at maintaining integrity with others: I try to be honest and reliable, and I try to follow through on my word; I apologize and make amends when I believe that I have wronged someone, I don’t steal, and I have rarely ever intentionally hurt a person or animal. These are great values to cultivate, and values I continually strive to perfect as no human being is ever born perfect in these areas, and certainly not me.
Staying in integrity with myself, however, is a different animal altogether, and has often been a larger struggle for me.
Just as we must maintain integrity with those around us – people, animals and the environment – so too, must we maintain integrity with ourselves. Many of us forget that we must consider ourselves with the equal manner with which we consider others. In fact, we have a responsibility to ourselves just like we have a responsibility to others. This can be as simple as remembering to floss our teeth (would you let someone you loved spend their whole life without flossing?), getting outside for a break (would you let your dog sit around the house all day?), or cleaning your house (would you want your best friend to live in squalor?).
Having integrity with yourself simply means that you love yourself with the empathy and compassion that you extend to others who you love. This is actually the opposite of selfishness, which is a quality that robs others of their joy, their healthy boundaries, and natural entitlements. Selfishness takes from the world – from other people, animals and nature — while integrity is a gift to the world – it simply generates more love, and then there is more love to go around.
Integrity is the sweetest kind of honesty we can ever cultivate, it is the amazing fruit of the tree of self knowledge and one of the ways we return home to ourselves and others. It empowers us and keeps us authentic. It is the way the world evolves and grows (just think about the kind of integrity it took Rosa Parks to refuse to sit at the back of the bus – her courage ignited the civil rights movement, because she was true to what she knew was right). Sometimes you can expect big changes when you have integrity with yourself! That is because we live in a naturally just universe that is probably already on your side. Eeek, that’s a little scary…
Wishing us all much integrity in the battles and joys of life.