There comes a moment or series of moments in your life when you understand the principle of integrity.
Before that point, it didn’t register as something to necessarily consider. And then you are shaped by the world, and a light bulb goes on.
In my experiences and even more so with recent situations, I have discovered the importance of integrity. Staying true to your honor, upholding your highest sense of self, telling the truth, behaving with dignity—all of these attributes that were embedded in our lives even as young children are just as applicable now as they were then.
Despite not being overlooked constantly by parental influence and being watched like a hawk, as adults, we are still accountable to live out those same values and morals that we were taught as children.
It is amazing to me how these simple lessons, learning to tell the truth, learning to say please and thank you, learning respect, learning to listen, listening to who we are inside and what we want, etc… seep into early and late adulthood. They are principles to live by until our last day.
But most recently I have found in my life the value of integrity. I have had people behave poorly toward me, ignore me, express concern regarding qualities of my own and concerns about my way of being, and have been left questioning my own worth. There came a point in my life when these interactions were no longer deal breakers. I stopped taking everything as a personal attack, and learned the value of taking realistic responsibility for my actions.
In the past, I’ve forgotten in the heat of the moment that the one overpowering and sustaining gift I have is my integrity. It is the lock and key into my soul that no matter what happens, there was honor from my end.
This in no way underestimates the presence of lessons learned in the meantime. There can be mistakes made and lessons learned while still maintaining integrity. I have discovered in my own process that the intention is behind so much of what integrity is and stands for. If in my choices there is honor and truth, then I have integrity.
If there is integrity, then there is no backtracking and swirling clouds when negativity comes into my path. If there are harsh words exchanged and hurtful comments made in my direction, my integrity should keep me on my path, instead of hurdle me in a tail spin out of control. It is important to gain awareness of your own integrity, and if you feel like it is in question, examine the possible reasons why and try and understand where it can be reinstated.
Integrity is what keeps us grounded in who we are and what we stand for. It keeps me on my feet and allows me to move through this life being appreciate of who I am, respectful of my nature, and humbled through the learning of lessons.
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Ed: Sara Crolick