Last fall, I took “Basic,” a basic course at Momentum Education NYC. It was a lot of things but mostly, it was an intensely emotional weekend digging deep into why you do what you do – a presentation of practical tools on how to overcome a lot of false beliefs that aren’t working for you that you may not even realize you have. That was a really long sentence. I’ll leave it at that in case one of you want to take the course. But I really wanted to share one of the lessons that still resonates with me: integrity. When what you do, think, and say all match up. Meaning when you say “I’m ok” to a friend who asks how you’re doing, you’re really ok. And that when you slam your hand down on the 6:30 alarm, you’re actually getting up at 6:30. Or if you’re dating someone, you actually really like each other and are compatible, not because you’re afraid to be 50 and single or because they liked you (back). Ya. It gets that deep, and all of that is included. According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t even have a ten-minute conversation without lying at least once. And men don’t lie more, ladies (contrary to popular belief). In fact, the UMass psychologist who led the experiment, Robert S. Feldman, said that the quantity of lies were the same. “Women were [just] more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it? I say all this to say –> Keep reading because you’re probably a liar.
Google integrity and you get
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
I found the second definition to be even more meaningful.
the state of being whole and undivided.
Beyond being honest, integrity means having the awareness, courage and discipline for your thoughts to be in line with your words and your mind to be in sync with your body. Or least being honest about where they are currently. This means I have to stop daydreaming about Oreos now that I know that they’re vegan, because my current lifestyle is not about being vegan – it’s about being healthy. Right.
The reason I think it’s hard for us to mean what we say and say what we mean is because 1. We often don’t know what we want 2. Lack of discipline because we don’t know what we want 3. Pride 4. Insecurity and fear aka lots of pride. For example, the research above saw that women often lied to make the person they were talking to feel good (though I’m sure this goes for lots of men as well). I have realized from personal experience that overly exerting yourself to make others feel good at your own expense boils down to massaging your own ego. It’s all to avoid the other party not making you feel bad about the stance you chose to make. So instead, we choose to lie. Or say nothing. It takes courage to say, “Friend, what you just did was wrong/hurtful,” or “You’re cool but I really think it’s best we be friends” or to simply walk away. It’s easier for our egos to meander along and just pretend. A lot of the situations we end up in is of our own doing. We feel like we’re doing the right thing but we don’t mean it. Sometimes we don’t even realize it. It’s a sneaky little thing. And for men, or the women it likely still applies to, it’s more obvious. If you’re trying to make yourself look better than others – well, you’re kinda full of yourself. And sometimes, it has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s all in our heads. We want to think of ourselves as more than capable of achieving or obtaining that thing so we go after it, albeit fearfully, and it ends up being self-destructive. Man.
Now, all this is not to say we shouldn’t have goals or that I think aiming high is wrong. I just believe it’s healthier to see exactly who and where we are to then move forward. I personally have to look to God to achieve things because they’re impossible within myself. Integrity is a more honest journey to the top, and no one can tell you nothing you don’t already know about yourself. That’s why ya’ll can’t faze people like Kanye, or Jocelyn Hernandez – they knows exactly who they is. Right or wrong. But that’s neither here nor there.
So, here are some tips I gathered* on how to live a lifestyle of integrity. It’s my personal prayer and goal to be authentic, get out of my head and out of my own way.
- Decide what or who you stand for from now – If you wait till a situation arises, you’re more likely to crack under pressure and go the easy route, whatever that may look like.
- Don’t make excuses or rationalizations – There is always a reason but rash decisions often lead to giving away something priceless for something cheap. cc: Esau, Samson, etc.
- If you don’t want to fall, don’t walk where it’s slippery – Avoid situations that will push you away from your value system. Sometimes these situations are unavoidable, and that’s when knowing what you stand for beforehand comes in handy.
- Be accountable – own up for how you went wrong. And attempt to fix it.
- Honesty is key – recognize where you are, where those around you are and make choices based on those facts.
I would just like to add that I believe we can still operate in care, while being honest. Being honest with yourself and others may hurt our egos and our feelings temporarily but if done with sincerity, transparency and good intent, we’ll be well on our way to a successful life.
I honestly just got jacked writing this. This is how I want to consistently live life. This is the life I want for my loved ones. This is the life I want for you, my readers. May God help us all. I sincerely hope you get as much out of it as I did. Cheers to integrity!
*Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-06/uoma-urf061002.php