They say integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I say integrity is being the same person whether someone is looking or not. Many people would change certain behaviors if they knew they could be caught at any moment – whereas if they felt sure there was no one around, they’d act a little differently. People on reality shows often say the content was edited to skew them. True, it is television after all. Yet through all the fancy editing, the reality is they got comfortable and forgot someone was looking. We live in that same scenario.
Who we are when no one is around is who we actually are. Our inner thoughts and emotions, things no one else can know, pretty much define us. We can betray them to portray something we think is acceptable to the public, or we can fight for true inner peace so that we’re the same person inside and out. We can only keep it together superficially for so long; sooner or later our outer actions will match our true inner self. At that point the jig is up, we’ve been uncovered.
These false identities can become so ingrained that we actually believe we are who we depict ourselves to be. We allow ourselves no time to hear the thoughts in our head or process any emotion so that we can live completely in the shadow of a mask. When our true self comes busting through, it surprises everyone – even us.
If any of this sounds familiar, fear not. I’ve been there. I spent a good portion of my life conforming to one expectation or another. So much of me was specifically compartmentalized into different beings; the school me, the home me, the friends me, the family me, the work me, etc. I can now honestly say that I am fully me. Just me. All the time. It’s glorious.
True integrity is being one with yourself – spirit, soul, and body – and not living a compromised life on any level. It is allowing yourself to fully recognize what you actually believe, instead of what you’re expected to believe. It is paying attention to the thoughts that run through your mind. Integrity is being the same person no matter who you’re around. To do that, you have to get to know yourself. As the winter is coming to an end and Spring is right around the corner, make a commitment to your own rebirth of sorts. Discover more of yourself so you can be genuine through and through – and if you lack integrity, develop it; because believe it or not, someone is always watching.