Integrity is the whole of your character, and is comprised of your beliefs and values, and how you want to see yourself in the world. It is a large part of your identity, whether you are conscious of that or not. When our lives don’t accurately reflect who we want to say we are, we can struggle with depression, anxiety, or both. We can avoid ourselves with food, work, substances, or other people’s business. We function, but we are not at peace and not feeling very alive.
It is said that no one can take our integrity away – we have to give it away, and often we do that slowly, bit by bit. This can happen so insidiously over time that we may barely notice, or we may also have glaring moments when we watch it going down in slow-motion, and we feel ill. I believe that every time we go against the authentic self we are in trouble. Let’s take a look at two culprits that are usually at the source.
We give it away when we engage in people pleasing. We are focused on manipulating the feelings of others so we can feel ok… so we are not rejected, so there is no awful conflict, and essentially we don’t want to be hated. So, instead of setting a limit and letting them know what our decision is, we cave and do what they want. This emotional dishonesty makes it so we are not only lying to ourselves, but to them as well.
We give it away when we don’t practice healthy boundaries. We don’t say no to what doesn’t feel right for us, we don’t ask for what we need, and we don’t practice self-care. Since we are not setting boundaries, we no longer know where we end, and others begin. We don’t know what we stand for because it becomes all about avoiding conflict or loss.
Essentially, we give it away out of fear. Fear of loss of relationship, our job, our family’s approval and other needs we fear will go unmet. Holding onto our integrity can take incredible courage. It means risking losing relationships, our job we love, or an otherwise great opportunity. We are always asking ourselves “I can do that, but at what cost?” Owning the total package takes maturity…and lots of self-love. Remembering too, that the right people and environments would never ask or want us to lose an ounce of integrity.