People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr
What is Integrity?
Here are two definitions from the Oxford Dictionary:
1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
2. the state of being whole and undivided.
At first these definitions seem like two meanings for the same word, but are they really not connected?
Throughout life, how can we preserve our integrity and remain whole?
When we are born, we are whole. We are not yet moulded by our earthly surroundings. We have no concept of what is right or wrong or what we should be more of or less of. We are exactly as we should be, according to the Universe. We have said many times before, that as infants we are hard-wired for survival and as such totally susceptible to responding to the approval and disapproval of those around us. Approval is the opposite of abandonment and abandonment equals death. Throughout childhood, we therefore consciously and unconsciously undertake the task of honing those parts of Self which meet with positivity and disowning those which do not. We shape ourselves into an approved model and allow unwanted aspects of Self to retreat into Shadow. Although this process appears to ensure our survival, there is a price. We can learn to enjoy the approved version of Self, but if the whole Self does not receive respect or even love, we lose our integrity, and our wellbeing is at stake.
When we are affected by the behaviour of others, it is our stuff. Underlying negative core beliefs that are common to all of us are uncovered, and we feel uncomfortable or upset. When we react this way, it is usually because we have an underlying belief that there is some truth in what has been said about us. When this happens, we move into a defensive position to protect ourselves from possible loss of something such as respect, social standing, relationships, or material comfort. If we are not conscious of these processes within our psyche, we may well ‘bite back’ with an automatic response, triggering a similar response in the other party and leading to conflict. When we allow the behaviour of another to erode our self-worth, our integrity is damaged. Difficult relationships such as these can be beneficial in teaching us much about the Self. In ‘How to Rise – a Complete Resilience Manual’ there is a specific meditation which has the purpose of allowing you to explore just this.
There is a theory in Shamanic Practice and other metaphysical philosophies, that time may not be linear in the way that we perceive it with the human brain. Imagine for a moment that everything that has happened or will ever happen is unfolding all at once somewhere in the vastness of the Universe.
The theory is that, when something traumatic happens to us, we may leave a part of Self behind in that situation, elsewhere in the Universe. This provides a theoretical explanation as to why we continue to return to past events in rumination - if resolution of that situation never came about. We have all experienced how difficult it is to be present in our daily activities when we are continuously revisiting past events in search of closure. When we are not present in our activities and interactions, they are contaminated. Our integrity is, once again compromised. Read more about how to address this in our book and in the following article:
In our book, we teach a number of principles of self-awareness which are essential for building resilience and maintaining wellbeing. The overarching skill required for affecting positive change in our lives is to observe everything that is going on within us in all situations. Having done this we then seek to change our responses from automatic reaction to conscious choice.
Every one of us is a masterpiece in progress. We are always unfinished and under construction – but we are always whole. No part of us is either right or wrong. What matters most is that we are consciously accepting and creating ourselves into whole and perfect reality.