Inner conflict. The natural state we are in, where we doubt ourselves and constantly fight our inner demons before our version of our self rises.
You hear a lot about the law of attraction, synchronicity and some other fancy concepts all the time, but when was the last time you heard a self help guru talk about integrity and how being out of whack with your own personal code of ethics can be a huge fun sucker?
I had never even heard of integrity as a means of personal development before. It was always something you heard about in church or old black and white movies where some big situation would arise and a dashing character in a sweet hat would act with integrity and just “do the right thing”.
It just so happens thought that the law of attraction (*cough*) and synchronicity have been working in my life because that’s how the word “integrity” came into my awareness.
A long time ago in some self help book or audio I have, I heard or read about integrity but at the time it was just a tiny seed that was planted and forgotten about. Then I read Steve Pavlina’ “How To Be A Man” (sucked me in like a laser beam!) and integrity was number buried in the number two topic. That was a post, a piece of writing on the internet that really stuck with me. The seed was developing.
Then a friend phoned me (thanks Paul) and said he had some tickets to see a motivational speaker and the guys name was Dr. Guy Riekeman. He was doing a “Power of One” tour. Very cool I thought. So I went and what was one of the topics? Integrity. He explained how the base of integrity was the word integer.
Later I was eating my curry chicken and watching the movie “Stranger Than Fiction” and the main character Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) was asked what is your favourite word was by Dustin Hoffman. He said “interger”. It’s not so crazy that he said that but how hard it hit me. I mean I was eating and had the movie on more for background noise but that sentence stopped me in my tracks. The fork actually stopped halfway to my mouth and I thought, “Now what are the chances of that?
Your Personal Code Of Ethics
Back to the beginning. What does living with integrity and your personal code of ethics have to do with living a sweet, fun-ass life?
Lets talk about what integrity can actually mean
If you look at integrity right from the definition it means:
1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
2. The state of being wholesome; unimpaired
3. The quality or condition of being complete; pure
It also does in fact come from the latin word integrit?s (“soundness, integrity”), the root being integer.
K, well we’ve come this far so what are ethics and what does it mean to have a steadfast adherence to a personal code of ethics?
Well ethics could be called the accepted principles of right and wrong, among others things. Right and wrong to who? Well, YOU, if it’s a personal code of ethics. And guess what? If you are following someone else’s accepted principles of right and wrong, you could possibly personally feel stuck, internally torn and incomplete.
So lets put it all together then so we can get back to how integrity puts us onto a kick ass lifestyle.
Living a life of integrity means that you adhere to your personal code of ethics, your personal sense of right and wrong, and by taking actions based on those beliefs, create a life for yourself that feels wholesome, fluid, complete and pure.
Here is where you have to grow some parts and be conscious and aware of your daily life. There are a ton of ethical codes out there. Everyone has a set. Everyone’s mind is running their own personal code of ethics all the time. There are business ethics, accounting ethics and even unwritten codes of ethics like when I was in the Army.
If you want to feel whole and live a life of integrity you must have your own personal code of ethics trump all others that cross your path. There are people that will be emotionally hurt by this but you have to remember that even if you acted OUT of integrity it is NEVER your job to try to change another persons emotions by sacrificing your own. It’s a losing battle. People will feel what they feel and when you try to guess you often just end up with two pissed off people. The one you were trying to help and yourself for not taking the action you knew you should have.
Selfish? Maybe, but we all have gifts to bring to the world and its impossible to do the things that need to be done to feel whole and complete without someone seeing a problem with it. Right or wrong, your personal code of ethics is the software you run. If you fight the software, the computer freezes.
What do I mean? You recycle paper; you put a paper mill worker out of a job. You save the planet, you starve a fellow human. You break up a relationship, your partner feels terrible. Should you be the one to stay in the relationship and feel terrible or do you follow your heart?
The bottom line is that you can only be sure that your actions will make you happy. Guessing about others just doesn’t work. You have to do what is right for you by following your own personal code of ethics and let the cards fall where they may.
When you feel internal conflict and dis-ease, you can bet there is a clash of ethics. Usually your own personal code of ethics with someone else’s. But we can argue with ourselves too and feel tension when we don’t follow our heart.
How to live your life in integrity
So if living a life of integrity sounds like something you want to do, how do you start? Start with a gut check. What parts of your life right now give you a wobble in your stomach when you think of them. What parts of your life do you NOT want to think about? That’s another big clue.
Living in integrity and following your own personal code of ethics is all about feeling… and here is the best example I can think of.
Imagine you’re lying on the ground with a 250 pound wrestler on your chest and you have a plastic bag wrapped around your head. Every time you get rid of something in your life that is not inline with your personal code of ethics or that is out of sync with what you should be doing, you get to poke a tiny hole in the bag. You can now breath a little easier. The more you clear issues and situations from your life, the more holes to suck in some life giving air until you reach a point where the wrestler stands up off your chest and says “Awesome. Good job, let me get that bag off your head for you..”
If we are in any way similar, then you often know what you should be doing in any given situation. You can feel it but often we ignore it because of social pressure, willingness to please, hope of reward, ect.
Does this ring true or make any sense to you?
Photo credit – Conflict-Anton Rehrl