Integrity is a word that can be interpreted in many ways. I use to think that it meant to live your life true to your heart, practicing your beliefs and values in every interaction. Many definitions relate integrity to having strong moral principles, and being honest. Yet recently, I have been introduced to a new way of considering and defining integrity, as a lifestyle.
Integrity is doing what you say you will do, with joy in your heart. It involves honesty in that you are standing by your word, as your word is the most valuable thing that you have. It also involves being honest with yourself, and only choosing to do things that contribute towards your life goals, resulting in overall joy, even if the specific task on hand isn’t something you consider fun, it feeds your passion that in turn frees your soul.
I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about integrity with Scott and Sameena, in their offering called Integrity Choices. I am currently beginning week 7 of a 12 week journey with Sameena, where I am exercising my integrity muscle and learning so much about myself in the process. It is almost unbelievable the difference I feel in only 4 weeks.
So, how does one exercise their integrity muscle, and make it stronger? By forming a small habit and doing it every day, without fail, and being accountable for it by stating in a private group that the habit has been “done”. I make a promise to Sameena and to myself every week. And I keep that promise every day. That is how I practice integrity.
What has this practice done for me? It has helped me to feel worthy of my time. If I made a promise to myself in the past, or set an intention, I wouldn’t often follow through because other people and other tasks were more important. In fact, I didn’t even consider an intention to be a promise to myself. Once my language changed around setting goals, and I realized a goal is a promise to myself, and not just something I hope to achieve, it help more weight and importance. I mean, if I don’t trust myself to do what I say I am going to do, how can I possibly expect anyone else to trust my word? This realization was mind blowing! Absolutely changed my perspective of myself. I have been saying for years affirmations to help develop trust, and they haven’t really worked. This is because despite the affirmation, my actions didn’t change, and I wasn’t trust worthy. This integrity practice has made me responsible for my actions, and respect my promises even to myself. This practice also reinforces a higher level of confidence, because I am following through on my promises, proving to myself I am worthy of respect and success.
Also, the promises that I make to myself are things that I WANT to do. They are enjoyable, life-enhancing daily practices. Drinking a bottle of water, meditating/hypnosis, painting, walking, reframing negative thoughts and recording the positive, and writing at least 2 sentences for morning pages. Each of these contributes to a healthier me…body, mind and soul, in various ways. AND each habit is written in such a way as it is absolutely 100% performable every day. The opportunity to be an over achiever is huge. This is so that I don’t promise more than I can commit to, leading into failure, guilt and shame. So I promise to drink one bottle of water, even though I strive for 2-3 per day. I promise to paint one drop of paint a day…which often turns into much longer, and forces me to paint when I may not feel inspired, and through this practice leads to more inspiration and productivity! That is why the writing for this week’s habit is a minimum of 2 sentences. I can absolutely write more, but no less.
I am grateful for this opportunity to learn about integrity, and the accountability that comes along with this program. I am inspired by others in the community that are in the midst of the program themselves. I love seeing the habits other people are incorporating into their daily practice to improve their experience. I thrive on the support and encouragement. Often, I give up on a habit before the necessary time frame passes to actually solidify the practice into a habit. With the accountability both daily and weekly, I never miss a day. I am proud of myself. I am confident. And I am ready to take the next step in my art business!