You may think that your financial stress is about a lack of money or your struggles with your weight are about food—they aren’t! In fact, I’d bet that if you’re physically and financially unhealthy, there’s also a good chance that you’re romantically unhealthy, too—either in an unhappy, dysfunctional, or indifferent relationship (or not in one at all).
How do I know this? Because all of these things are interrelated—they’re all about one missing quality: a lack of personal integrity. (I know that’s a bitter pill to swallow!) I’m going to break some news to you: no amount of money, dieting, job searching, business planning, or online dating is going to help you fix this problem, because your money woes aren’t about money, your weight problems aren’t about weight, and your relationship struggles aren’t about what you think they’re about either.
Integrity is the quality or condition of being whole, complete, and undivided. The word integrity comes from the Latin root word integer, which means “a complete entity”—something most of us aren’t!
Yet if you were to ask most people if they had integrity, I’d bet that they would adamantly say “yes”, because for so many, the meaning of the word has been associated with adhering to a religious or moral code. Perhaps you are righteous and kind or you are willing to serve, so you truly believe that you’re living in integrity. Many people compare it to honesty. And although a part of having personal integrity is about being honest, it’s about being honest with yourself—your wants, needs, feelings, thoughts, hopes, wishes, weaknesses, temptations, dreams, and desires—and having the courage to share your truth and make the changes you need in order to become a whole, complete entity.
Living in integrity is about aligning yourself— your thoughts, words, and actions—with who you really are, Not who you’ve been or who you fear becoming!
Sure—maybe, you always tell the truth, you pay your taxes, and you’re faithful to your spouse, but that doesn’t make you a person who is living in integrity. Individuals with integrity have aligned their thoughts, words, and actions with their values. They feel authentic—that is, whole. Those with integrity know who they are, like who they are, and trust themselves in the highest regard.
If you knew who you really are, you would always treat yourself with respect! You would be in awe of yourself!
When we’re lacking integrity, we can’t commit . . . especially to ourselves! We can’t create and sustain success because we don’t believe in ourselves, and we don’t trust ourselves enough to even take care of ourselves. We don’t know what we value most, so we flip and flop like a fish out of water. Without integrity, we can’t set and maintain personal boundaries. We care more about what others think than what we think! People take advantage of us because we’ve taught them how to treat us. In other words, we’ve taught them to not take us seriously because we don’t take our own needs seriously! We want to stick to things but don’t. Then we beat ourselves up, wishing we weren’t so “flaky.”
People who lack personal integrity aren’t consciously deceitful. They may be kind, fun, adventurous, spontaneous, spunky, silly, spiritual, serene, and even brilliant. (But even brilliance doesn’t guarantee success.) Disempowered people may have all these wonderful qualities, but they’re missing something fundamental: personal integrity. They don’t mean to let you down or hurt their own kids or their parents. They don’t mean to let their bosses down . . . they just can’t keep a commitment! They’re fabulous at making promises (ones they truly plan to keep), but they can’t commit to a diet, a budget, or a demanding schedule in the long term. They’re on track, then off. Their “programming” won’t allow them to do things differently, even if they desperately want to! And the really sad part is that they hate themselves for it!
And what do we know now about sustaining success?
If you don’t like who you are you’ll sabotage because you don’t believe you’re worth more. You don’t believe you deserve a good life.
But just as money problems aren’t really about money, commitment problems aren’t really about commitment. Those who lack integrity want to be successful, but they don’t know how to channel their wants, fears, and desires into courage and willingness; they don’t know how to get back into integrity! Basically, they don’t know how to speak their truth . . . deep down, they are afraid. When you begin cleaning up your life . . . when you begin to face the music of what you’ve done (or not done) . . . you begin to build your “integrity muscle”! You feel good about yourself when you make commitments and see them through. You feel good about yourself when you say what you mean and mean what you say! Besides, here’s the good news: you don’t have to tackle it all today—besides, you couldn’t. But over the next six months to a year, you will have to clean up all the areas of your life in order to sustain success. If you can do it faster, great! But always remind yourself that you aren’t fooling anyone by sweeping things under the carpet. You’ll only have to deal with the rotting mess that’s under there, eventually. My advice: face it now! Get honest with yourself! Make a list of all things you need to tackle in 2011 and decide that this will be the year of cleaning up all your unfinished business! I guarantee that when you clean your life up, sustaining success will be so easy to do!