Integrity

I’d never given much though to the meaning behind the word integrity. I knew integrity meant having morals and values and abiding by them. However, in reading, “Further Along, the Road Less Traveled,” By Scott M. Peck. M.D., he provides a more complete definition which is, “the state of being whole and undivided.” Basically having all of you be integrated. Being consistently you in every situation. When you think of integrity in this way it is much more profound. You can’t be you consistently if you don’t know who you are. You can’t be you consistently if you have fear of showing that self to others. Many people including myself have played the role of a chameleon at times. It takes real courage to be you at all times. A true level of honesty and vulnerability that most people are afraid to have. Committing to integrity has its price.

Many people I believe mask their emotions to others. Especially in business, it is almost expected for you to do so. To some degree this makes sense as you wouldn’t be successful operating under hysteria. However, as humans, emotions come with the gig. To expect someone to operate without them or to mask them expertly at all times is unreasonable. My honesty to myself and others about my internal state of emotions and thoughts are one area where I display high levels of integrity. This has not always played well in my favor. Especially during the years where my internal state was extremely volatile. My moods still, if I am not consistently using my tools and being mindful, can fluctuate unexpectedly. To some degree this is a part of just being human, moods and such. Having struggled with a mood disorder though for many years, my mood shifts are much more extreme than the average person.

In retrospect, I’ve wondered would I have a less muddled image if I had a better poker face? A better reputation if I were able to better hide my energy and emotions and put on the mask that many people are savants at wearing?

Brene Brown when she talked about vulnerability said:

“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?”

I’ve always struggled with this sort of discernment though. I’m not sure I’ve ever made anyone “earn the right” to hear my story. My story is always here, accessible, and available. This could leave me in a place to be hurt, if I allow it to hurt me. It feels like I’ve trailed off from my topic a bit, but I think these are connected. My struggle with sharing who I am, my internal state, as a form of integrity. Should I be making people earn that right? Is a lack of discrimination in who I am honest or openness with, integrity? Or just stupid recklessness?

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