One Rule to Never Violate

Integrity.

Don’t violate it.  It is yours to honor and apply to your life, your conduct and your actions.

It fuels your energy, your actions and your interactions with others.

So tonight when I got an email from a fellow business owner, I realized why I had been experiencing an inner cringe all day.

I pride myself on just being up front.  Being direct has always felt more comfortable to me than not.  It hasn’t always been the easier path, but it has been the truer path.  It has felt more authentic to me.

In my blog yesterday, I called out a couple of coffee shops I frequent and contrasted my experience with them.  I don’t deny the experiences, they happen.

But, I violated my own sense of integrity in the process.  And rightly so, one of the coffee shop owners called me on it.  And I am glad!

I am glad to receive the opportunity to be better, to look at myself with an honest eye and say “you screwed up, now you get to grow from it and fix it.”

My better, normal self would have contacted him and described the routine issues I was seeing and experiencing and let him deal with them as he saw fit – so why didn’t I?

In all honesty, it was because I was feeling petty and crabby.  And I wrote that portion of my blog in a bit of a snit.

I share this because I think we all do it.  I think we all have had those moments when we lash out at others, or gripe about situations.  In those moments we aren’t looking for resolution or healing, we are looking for reaction or to share the negative emotion we are holding on to.  It can manifest in lots of ways: we criticize, gossip, second guess, judge and or just get a little nasty about something.

We act without integrity. It makes us do that inner cringe thing when we think of it and we don’t like it. It doesn’t mean we lack integrity as a person, but if we are ruthless in our analysis, we can all find those moments where we were not our best.

In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says to Be Impeccable with your word.  Say only what you truly mean and be honest and true to your truth.  When we allow ourselves to react instead of responding to situations, we are not necessarily impeccable with our word, we are not acting in integrity.

I agreed to a meeting with the coffee house owner, gladly.  And I will apologize in person for my indiscretion because that is the path of integrity.  I won’t settle for less from myself and will always clean up what I can when I am not all in the right.

In my 13 principles of The Art of Living Dangerously, Principle 6 is to know your story.  It means to know and become intimate with where your reactions come from, to know who you are, where you come from and how it has shaped you.

As I reflect on this situation, I am forced to look at where my “snit”came from and why I let it out the way I did.

In-authenticity is a hot button for me and when I perceive others to be doing something because it looks good rather than it actually being good, it irritates me.  I have been a hard worker my entire life and believe that if you are going to do something, do it right – fully commit and be the best you can possibly be at whatever it is. I also know not everyone does this.

Growing up I encountered situations where others didn’t do that and it hurt my life, it hurt my existence in ways that created scars that I have had to confront in my own healing processes as I acquainted myself with my story.

I don’t believe in excuses. In fact once you put the effort into knowing your story, you have fewer reasons to excuse your behavior because you have committed to understanding yourself more fully. So I do my best to remain vigilant when these buttons get pushed because the reaction usually points back to me at least two fold, if not more.

In this instance, I have no issue or reservation whatsoever in saying I was not entirely in the right.  In this instance, I can be honest and know that being more more natural direct self is the better path, as always.

I encourage you to take a look at a time in your life recently where you may have acted with less courage, honesty and authenticity than you know your true self desires.  Honor it and resolve it so that you don’t do that inner cringe thing every time you think of it!

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