What does that mean … really? “Living with integrity” sounds like a given for most people. After all, no one wakes up in the morning and says “Today I choose to live without integrity!” In actuality, this is a very personal experience. Integrity means different things to different people. Developing your personal definition will allow you to guide yourself through some pretty sticky situations.
In general, living with integrity means to live authentically, transparently and with dignity and self respect. Those are very lofty words! Let’s break that down….
To live authentically means to live according to your personal standards and to achieve the highest level of development that you believe is meaningful to you. This is a far reaching goal. To achieve this goal requires introspection and clarity on your personal values. Every major decision will determine if you are getting closer to that goal or you are being distracted. A real life example would be to ask yourself if you are feeling gratified by the work you do, the relationship you are in, your financial status, your sexual relationships and other aspects of your life. The work you do to adjust those aspects of your life means that you are realigning your life according to your values and getting closer to living with integrity.
To live transparently means that you are allowing your true self to be present in relationships with others as you learn to connect and communicate more clearly and accurately. Do you feel that others see you as you see yourself? Do you find that people misjudge you or don’t “get” you? Why do you think the “you” that you experience is different from what others see? Being able to unify your version of yourself with what others perceive allows you to live more transparently.
This is not to say that people don’t struggle with real challenges that go beyond their own capacity to resolve. Anxiety, depression and other mental health struggles can often slow down the pace of individual growth and development and individuals can be supported through working with a talented therapist.