It’s been an interesting couple of years – you know, interesting, as in the Chinese Curse.
Mopping up after the death of a business colleague, recovering from ill health, facing the fact that my husband is always going to be a serial philanderer, losing a number of dear relatives (most recently my father-in-law)…I won’t go on, you get the picture.
Of course, there is the good stuff too but isn’t it a disgrace how that sometimes gets overlooked when you choose to live at the damp end of the forest?
I was stopped in my tracks this morning reading an email from a colleague. She commented “you are out of integrity and this is why each new event knocks you for six”.
Being out of integrity? I wasn’t sure what she meant.
According to my colleague, when we are out of integrity we spend too much of our time fixing, propping up and doing the expedient thing rather than the right thing. Builders and architects pay attention to the integrity of a building knowing that by so doing the building will weather any storm.
Integrity in life is about having all the pieces interlock into a system: Our roles, our relationships, our values, our boundaries, our health, our finances, our spiritual life.
Without integrity life is a constant struggle.
Without integrity we have one hand propping up one aspect of life whilst we are trying to live another. We find ourselves constantly reacting in a knee jerk manner rather than meeting life’s trials and tribulations with strength.
When we are in integrity we are able to respond rather than react, we are clear in our decision making processes because we know who we are and what we want. In integrity we are whole and strong, we take responsibility for our actions, we learn life lessons, we take care of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. We are strong and as a result fewer life events are seen as problems.
Being in integrity is surely a personal thing with each of us having different definitions of what it means to us. It’s not about comparing ourselves to others or taking the moral high ground – we must each define and live our personal integrity.
That was the gist of the correspondence!
For me, I have to acknowledge my colleague is right. Propping up has become a way of life. Reacting to events and people, relying on a spurt of adrenaline to get through the day. Having recognised what has been going on, how to put things right?
I feel like an old building that needs underpinning! A self survey has revealed the cracks. The foundations have crumbled. Without strong foundations eventual collapse is inevitable.
The first repair is to allow myself to be who I am. Years spent pleasing others, forcing the square peg into the round hole, have left some confusion. Personas assumed either to please or to cover up feelings of inadequacy need to be discarded. I am what I am (who sang that?) and if it isn’t enough for the people in my life then they are not the people I should be with. This does of course beg the question ‘Who am I?’. She’s going to take some excavation having been buried under the detritus accumulated over years.
How’s your integrity? Has the way you have been living your life loosened your foundations? Do you find the storms of life cause structural damage? What can you do to strengthen your integrity and stop the struggle?