Have you ever known something you were doing wasn’t in line with your life’s purpose (morals, highest good, good of those around you), and you did it anyway? How did you feel afterwards? Did you play the guilt game? How about the walk of shame? Sure. We all have. And to be quite honest, it stinks. Why? 'Cause in that very moment, when we decided to go against our instinct—our gut feelings, our conscious—we put something (someone, some thought) before what we knew was best for us in our life. We are unconsciously saying “I give in to this, I am too weak to do what I know is best for me and/or for others.”
Sometimes we can gloss over it, or justify it and attempt to eliminate it from our memory, but deep down inside you know. Yup, you know. It sits and stirs and causes unrest underneath the surface. And what’s scary is these types of poor choices can build up over time, and turn into a life of unrest, or worse, dis-ease.
So what are some of the big heavy hitters to avoid?
- Prolonged Anger
- The unwillingness to Forgive
- Bowing down to Fear
Personal Story: I remember in the past, as I was just starting off with my website, I would scramble to put up a blog post about something, anything, as long as there was an affiliate commission so that I could make a few bucks from what was within. I didn’t really know the product I was promoting, I was just looking to stay afloat and make some money, integrity or not unfortunately.
That is one of the top reasons why people bypass their own individual integrity: money! But why? Are we all money hungry? I think not. The root of that concept is fear. In my case, afraid I wasn’t going to be able to pay my mortgage, or put food on the table. Afraid I wasn’t going to be a success on my own, after helping build a multimillion dollar company in my previous job. Of course my silly attempts generally backfired as I never made any money from those affiliate programs, and it just tarnished my name. What was I thinking? Now looking back I can’t imagine anything good coming from a decision made out of a poor more choice. After all, we attract what we put out, right?
The other two, anger and an unwillingness to forgive, often go hand in hand. I was just speaking to someone who is fighting an illness the other day, specifically about the topic of anger, and letting go. She was very upset about someone and refused to drop the situation. Even when I suggested mediating between the two to come to a resolution, she flatly refused. She chose to hold onto her anger instead and was unable to forgive.
And people often question why they are ill?!?! Listen: thoughts become things. If you still are upset with your [fill in the blank with word from right] (parents, spouse, lover, children, boss), and things they did in the past (even yesterday), understand you aren’t hurting them nearly as much as you’re hurting yourself. And to make matters worse, you aren’t walking in your full power and living a life of integrity. Wikipedia defines integrity as:
a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.
The great thing I love about the word is it doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else’s actions or values, only the honest truth about yourself. So, the way you live out your integrity may be very different from the way I do, but as long as you are honoring your own highest truth, then it’s exactly the same.
I ran into the theme of integrity again a few month ago when starting my raw food online store. I wanted to have a certain theme for my store, as there are a solid dozen or more raw food stores out there, and was thinking about what would make mine different, how I could stand out and shine.
The 3 things that came up for me were:
- Price (of course)
So I decided to approach it in the following way, this time from a point of my own personal integrity:
1. Price: I would sell all of the products in my store at a lower price (much lower in many cases) than any of my competitors. Why? Because I don’t feel everything needs to always be marked up 100% or more to make it profitable. After all, there is enough abundance to go around for all of us to share in, and still make a profit.
2. Product: I decided that instead of stocking my store with 1,000+ items, things I never used or even heard of, I would approach my inventory with a different intention. I decided that the only products that I would add to my store would be items that I use, have tried, or fully stand behind (meaning no agave, lol). High quality items, from a high integrity standard.
3. Shipping: I know how frustrated I have been in the past with the extremely high shipping rates I have paid from past online stores, often feeling like they slipped an extra $10 – $15 in the cost of shipping. I decided to not make money on shipping, therefore offering shipping at a break-even for me, and providing multiple services (UPS, USPS) for the customer.
Why am I sharing this? Not to brag about my store, but rather to show you the shift that I made from when I first started online to now. We all have made shifts, some beneficial, some not. The good news is CHANGE is our friend. It’s the only constant in life, so we might as well keep evolving.
If you're holding onto a pattern that isn’t serving you, or the people around you, then I would suggest that you adopt the old Gandhi saying:
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
Want to be treated fairly? Treat others fairly. Enjoy receiving? Practice giving.
The little steps that you take to clean up your integrity can change your life, re-shape your family, and set a strong standard for generations to come. And as a side bonus, your spouse and children will respect you more. Enough said.
What are some integrity issues that you have struggles with?
What are some that you have overcome?
Keeping it real,