“Sorry I'm late, there was traffic!”
“Don't be disappointed, learn to let go.”
“Why do you feel that way, there's nothing wrong.”
“Suck it up, you're a big boy/girl.”
Sorry, sorry, sorry…yet never do we actually make resolution, gain agreement and form a new commitment. Rather, the previous agreements are quickly swept under the figurative rug with no acknowledgement that we have impacted the life of another.
Even our listener is quick to absolve us of responsibility with replies of, “no worries”.
After hundreds of personal development books, seminars, recordings, classes, retreats, mentoring, coaching…oh my god…I'm a personal development junkie! I had to sit up and take notice. There was just way too much wreckage in my life for all the “work” I was doing on myself and couldn't find MY problem.
I was out of integrity. With others, with my finances, my business, my clients, my spirituality but mostly…with myself.
The great, late Zig Ziglar said once,
“You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.”
The quote made me stop and think, take inventory and do the difficult soul searching to really LOOK at what was happening.
Below is a list of 5 ways that I was out of integrity.
5. Making Assumptions.
Clarification is a rare thing these days in a technologically driven world of communication driving our attention spans to a record breaking six seconds or fewer. Rather than clarifying, I was assuming. Assuming I knew what the other person meant, said, wanted, needed and rather than listening , I would jump to the answer, shortcut the process and even though I got things done…I often missed the heart connection to the person.
In assuming, I lacked integrity.
4. Avoiding Responsibility
“Who's responsible for this?” our mother would scold while playing with friends. Let the blaming begin! I learned from a young age that to take responsibility meant making shame-based apologies and being humiliated. I've even heard business coaches say, “don't EVER say you're sorry!”
We're just not trained in how to make things “right” with another person. We only know right vs wrong, defend and deflect, punishment and restitution and in such, we never get to truly make things better for others, and for ourselves. It wasn't until I began to really take a past inventory of the people I hurt and return to them to make amends that a sense of integrity was restored. Once the big mistakes were forgiven, then the smaller, daily inconsistencies were acknowledged such as being late, having an unkind tone of voice or missing deadlines.
Everything we have, what drive, our partners, friends, business, money, even parents (I believe) is a product of a choice we've made. If you'll let that really settle in to your heart, you'll probably first cry (I did), then you'll take a deep breath of relief, then…slowly…you'll find freedom. True freedom! Why? Because you've found the SOURCE of all your problems…YOU! Now you can live with the awareness that life is just a choice, and we always get to chose again.
In avoiding responsibility, I lacked integrity.
3. Controlling Others.
If I was perfect, then you would love me and if you loved me, you wouldn't leave me. THAT…was the pitiful story I told myself as the pain of abandonment, betrayal and loneliness nearly consumed me. Fear nipped at my ankles like a pit of venomous snakes. That fear…bred CONTROL. If I was in control, then I wouldn't get hurt and could finally be free of the pain that emanated in my heart.
I had to let go. Yes, this is where the good people of Alanon/Alcoholics Anonymous (any 12 step program) really have it right. That program helped me surrender. The ONLY thing I controlled were three things: 1) My thoughts. 2) My words. 3) The way I showed up.
Everything else is a wild ride in the crazy pin ball machine of pure chance and reasons we humans will most likely NEVER comprehend. The spiritual forces of this universe are so mind-boggling massive, there are things at work in constant chaotic motion, frequencies and senses and energy that is creating in micro mil-seconds.
How arrogant it is for any of us to think we can control people, places or things. Let others go. Go to be free, to express, love, create, fail, even leave all with a knowing deep down that you'll be okay. We are born to bump into each other, like little cosmic explosions, we carry the creative power of the universe inside us and there is going to be friction.
In controlling others, I lacked integrity.
2. Lack of Presence.
If good is great, then MORE must be better! That was my codependent, ego-filled, chaotic monkey mind reasoning. There was always a new toy, gadget, girl or gizmo to gain and obtain. Hell ya! I was going to live and live large come hell or high water. The result…total burnout. Like a Ferrari out of gas and a blown engine, I looked sexy and cool but wasn't going anywhere, much less fast.
I like to think that God used all that soul gunk to ground my high flying and take stock of what was REALLY important, you know…front porch, rocking chair kinda stuff.
In retrospect, I'm tremendously grateful for all those years of depression that I was avoiding because in the end, I got present to what mattered in my life, made new choices, cleaned up the past and learned to live fully in the current day. Ya, I guess you could say that the Latin expression, Carpe Diem became my new favorite two words because in the only promise we're given, extracting the MOST out of every day is all any of us really have. Every day we have a choice and opportunity to turn things around, safe the relationship, make a profit, serve a customer, kiss the girl (please kiss the girl, already guys!) and truly create what we want. The moment is now.
In not being present, I lacked integrity.