I found myself saying to a friend recently, “If I were really living in my full integrity I would…………”
I was sort of shocked to hear those words come out of my mouth. This is not, of course, the first time I have heard unexpected words come flying out of my mouth like that. It came from the same voice that blurted out a few years ago, “I hate my life”. It is almost as if there is another person living in my head sometimes that I didn’t realize had residence there. That message of “I hate my life” led to a remaking, over time, of pretty much everything in my life. Where I live. What I do. How I spend my time. The friends and family who have come into my life, as well as gone from it.
So what do I make of the latest message? One of the things I have felt proud about was living the way I professed to live. Living the values I said I believed in. So what was going on? What is that all about? That got me to wondering what the truth is. The truth is, I am not living in full integrity. So let me tell you what I think happened.
First, the why. I believe all this is bubbling up inside me now because I am coming out of a period of time where I have been very challenged at a very deep level with real life-and-death issues. My own and others close to me. I have been really, really sick. I wasn’t sure I would get “better”, and am still not sure. During this time I have seen myself doing things, found myself thinking things and heard myself saying things that I would never believed would be a part of my life a year ago.
So, the “the voice” was telling me that there is a significant gap between what I am thinking, doing, believing, saying, desiring, dreaming about and how I am actually living my life. That fits my definition of being out-of-integrity.
That sounds so bad. I shy away from people who are living a life that seems like it is out-of-integrity and I am drawn towards people that seem to be living a life of integrity. I believe (at least I did until recently) people either are, or they are not living a life of integrity. And when they (or I) do something that seems totally out of integrity, I am shocked.
So, if I am out of integrity with myself, what does that mean in terms of what kind of person I am? The thinking I have been doing lately, leads me to the truth that I have never lived a life of integrity. Sounds really bad to admit that.
But, not all is lost. I have a new sense that a life of integrity is the goal, an on-going process, not a destination, a place we either are or aren’t. It seems to work like this. Just about the time I reach a moment where it feels like I am totally congruent in terms of beliefs and behaviors, something happens and I find myself chasing perfection again. New thoughts, feelings, and experiences change who I am, who I want to be and how I want to show up in the world. Unfortunately these “Newbies” always run ahead of the behaviors that would honor them.
Truthfully all this could just be a rationalization, designed by my brain to help me feel better about the truth that slipped out my mouth-that I am not living in my integrity. That wouldn’t be the first time I did that either. I have a feeling though, that I have been kidding myself for a long time. I have a feeling that I have NEVER been in a place of total integrity. I just thought I was. As I see it now, I have always TRIED to live that way, and have always come up short. Sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot.
“The Voice” says “finally, you get it”.