The Freedom of Integrity
Integrity. Not brutal honesty. Integrity. Integration. Alignment. Acceptance. Authenticity. Keeping it real. Genuineness. Word. Thought. Feeling. Action. Light and Dark. All encompassing. Everything.
I had an unexpected lesson in integrity this summer. I had always thought of integrity as being evident when I lived according to my highest values and beliefs. I spent time considering what this meant to me over the years. I identified my most important values; the ones I felt I wanted to aspire to as a guide for my daily actions and choices. I was always trying to live into these identified values and beliefs – whether they were really a fit for me or not. I suppose I was motivated by what I thought would be the “right” choice – the actions that would be most respected or admired by others.
What I had neglected was how I actually felt as I crammed myself into spaces I didn’t belong. And all of this was at the expense of my true authentic nature, my highest good, and my ability to fully accept myself as a reflection of the divine.
Integrity is All-inclusive
One of the most self-destructive behaviours I have engaged in over the years – at least the one that is most prominently in my awareness at this time – is my tendency to escape through the over consumption of alcohol. I have used it to avoid myself – to avoid what I feel – to avoid what I know – to avoid what I am afraid of. The pattern I have noticed goes like this: I start to feel good about something – I get excited! Maybe, it’s related to a relationship – a feeling of being connected with others. At times, it’s been about my work – my creative expression – my ability to be of service in the world. Sometimes, I have lost myself in this behavior because I couldn’t stand what I was feeling – grief, fear, anxiety – and sometimes, excitement and deep love!
At times, when I have indulged, it has caused me to be unable or unwilling to follow through with other plans and commitments. I was able to construct various excuses for not showing up – always leading to a huge feeling of guilt, shame, and unworthiness. The anxiety of the hangover was greater than any headache that came along with it. I became a master at beating myself up.
Self Discovery Hurts Sometimes – And it’s Worth it!
Most recently, during an intense and absolutely amazing experience in my home community – something I have only gratitude for – I found myself in yet another one of these experiences. Through a series of events, I became more and more aware of some very essential truths in my life that I knew at my core I could no longer deny. Tailspin – a very useful and meaningful tailspin. I proceeded to engage in some level of drinking over the course of about a week. By the end of those few days, I wasn’t feeling too great, but I wasn’t in the throes of anxiety or physical illness either.
I had two important events to attend. My first impulse was to cancel. “Who was I to show up like this?” Wouldn’t that be disrespectful to the others involved? On the first day, I said – “whatever – just go – tell the truth.” This appointment only involved one other person so it was less intimidating…I went. I told the truth. I received a healing. I went home.The next day, I had a much bigger event to attend – an all day training that included a few other people. Again, the same punishing voices arose in my head. Finally, I heard “Just show up as you are.” And I did. And it was pivotal.
I did not go on to suffer for days on end. I did not beat myself up. I received healing energy. I moved through the physical discomfort quickly. I became stronger and more connected to my own power. I redefined integrity.
Integrity is living in the full acceptance of all of who you are. This is the ultimate demonstration of unconditional self-love and it leads directly to real freedom.
Just Show Up!
Show up as you are right now. No judgement. Accept the moment for what it is – an opportunity to learn, to release, to heal, to grow and to love – on every level of your being.
Matt Kahn says that negative self-defeating behavior only arises again and again because we judge it. Once you transcend that judgement and fully accept yourself – all parts – light and dark – the need for the behavior will be eliminated.
Think about the power in that. Freedom does not lie in excuses or justification – the “oh well, it’s just the way I am” mantra. Freedom lies in the full unconditional and unwavering acceptance of self – ALL OF IT!
Not a destination, but a journey. Not a static place but a moment-to-moment state of presence. Integrity.
Let’s get started!
How do you define integrity as a living energy in your life?
Sign up to our members’ area for immediate access to free resources!