Of the thirteen words that will make up my series, I believe this word could possibly be the most important. I believe that integrity is to personal development what a solid foundation is to a high-rise.
Most people think of honesty and having strong moral principles when they think of the word integrity, and I would agree. But there is a nuance in this definition that is often overlooked in daily life. One of the most important aspects of integrity is our word…doing what we say we’ll do, both with ourselves and others.
Most of us say we want honest and trustworthy relationships, but in order to attract, nurture and maintain these kinds of relationships, we also have to offer these qualities in return.
All too often, I watch people say they are going to do things and then when the moment comes to have integrity with their commitment, they have a number of excuses as to why they can’t or don’t follow-through.
It’s the simple things in life that make a difference. When you say to your spouse that you will be home at 7:00 and you come home at 7:20, you are out of integrity with your word. When you tell your child that you will read them a story and you find yourself too busy to take a break, you are out of integrity with your word. When you say that you are opposed to bullying, but you gossip about someone behind their back, you are out of integrity with your word. When you say to yourself that you are going to go to the gym to work out and you opt for a bag of chips and a movie instead, you are out of integrity with your word.
I’m not saying that things in life don’t change or that last minute changes won’t come up that prevent you from following through on a commitment. What I’m inviting you to look at is your relationship to your word, to your commitments that you make to yourself and others. I’m asking you to explore if breaking a commitment is a rare occasion for you or a chronic occurrence, because the latter is a true destroyer of intimacy and trust over time. It sabotages your belief and confidence in yourself and it erodes trust in you by the people you say you care about the most. This matters. A lot.
My recommendation is that you think about what you can deliver before you commit to yourself or someone else. The goal here is to be reliable, time and time again, so that you can be an honorable, dependable person who commands respect and trust from the people in your life, both personally and professionally. And when something comes up that causes you to need or simply want to change your plans, that you take responsibility and communicate ownership rather than blaming something or someone else for why you don’t show up or follow-through. I’m asking you to be sensitive of others and consider their feelings and needs as well as your own. And when it’s yourself you’re not honoring, pause and consider what self-respect would look like in that moment.
This word can absolutely change your life. Today. Right now.
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I’m passionate about this topic. If you struggle here, please consider working with me so I can help you improve your relationships. If you’re interested in learning more, I encourage you to sign up for a complimentary coaching session.