The most important person you can approach with integrity is yourself.
The 4 Steps to Integrity
1. Try your best – This takes a lot of dedication. We aren’t 100% a 100% of the time. It is a commitment to be made repeatedly.
2. Have compassion for the human experience – Different people and different situations will have to be approached as they are. Integrity demands that you be flexible, creative, committed, and forgiving.
3. Speak your truth (words and actions) – You are accountable for your own words and actions. You are accountable for your own happiness.
4. With positive intent – If you cannot continue a conversation or a task with positive intent, it is time to pause. The pause may signal a complete halt, a simple redirection, or a postponement.
Here is an example from my experience. I had something to resolve with my husband. For the life of me I can’t remember what the issue was, but at the time is was significant (in my mind). Approaching the conversation with integrity, I was determined to try my best to keep an open mind, to have compassion that he may have a different point of view, and to speak my truth with love in my heart.
So I start the discussion, “blah, blah, blah.” He responds with an immediate contradiction, “blah, blah, blah.” Now I’m riled, just like that, my old self wanted to repeat what I already said except louder, faster and meaner. Wait, I was supposed to be practicing integrity, trying my best, having compassion for his perspective, and speaking my truth with LOVE in my heart.
I was literally at a loss for thoughts much less words that conveyed love… I was flipping through my mind for appropriate responses, and I finally landed on one that met all my integrity requirements. I said evenly, “I don’t think you understand where I’m coming from.”
He paused, he looked at me, he responded, “I guess I don’t.” That was the end of our conversation, it ended with integrity. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t revisit the issue at a later time. But at a later time is fine, we are always accumulating experiences and perspective so we can do better or go further the next time.