Integrity speaks to who we are truly, to our core values.
If you look at the etymology of the word, it comes from the latin “integer” which means intact.
not altered, broken, or impaired; remaining uninjured, sound, or whole; untouched; unblemished.
I find this small word so powerful and at the same time very challenging if you consider the type of environments we are living in on a day to day basis. What does being “intact” mean ?
Everyday we are pushed to learn, adapt, grow and change. As this happens, our core values can be challenged. Whether it is in our personal, family or professional environment, everyday we have to confront our own set of values with the outside world. This can be about what we eat, how we decide to raise our children, how we behave with our friends and at the end of the day we can deviate from that core set of values. We deviate because we embrace the outside world and let it influence us. Now, there are 2 possible side effects:
- The win win situation where we grow and adopt a new set of values or reinforce an existing one that is truly and deeply aligned with who we are,
- Or on the contrary, this can unsettle us quite a lot when those values that the outside world brings are not in alignment with who we are.
Being intact here will be our best guide and our anchor for the behaviour we choose to have as a response. Being intact means taking the time to connect to ourselves and understand if those values that we have been confronted to, are true to what we are and if we want to align to them or not. And once we are perfectly aware of where we are aligned or not, we can adjust our behaviour accordingly, in the full respect of who we are and push back when necessary. Yes, we are not obliged to adhere to a set of values which is not ours and in fact adhering to a set of values which is not ours would be very violent to ourselves as I explain in this blog post.
This “taking the time to connect” can seem obvious but is not that easy in our busy lives and schedules. This is a very important one though. Because once you’ve taken the time to connect, you can then make a decision and then an action that will connect to your core values and allow you to remain intact. Taking the time to connect means to feel inside how this behaviour, thinking, food or else feel for you. Does it feel right ? Yes – take it. No – leave it.
Now I am not saying that being intact means no change, no evolution, and no personal growth. I am saying it is all of this, but always aligned with who we are. Actually remaining intact can also mean challenge our current behaviour and way of thinking. Does it really still align with who I am ? If not, getting rid of old patterns and habits that are no longer serving us can help us to grow.
Next time behaviours or thinking come to challenge you and your values I invite you to ask yourself the following questions :
- Do I adhere to this concept / behaviour / speech / idea ?
- Is this in alignment with what I am / want to be ?
… and let me know how it goes.
Looking forward to hearing from you and happy personal growth journey !