Living in Integrity – How to Be Yourself in a World that is Constantly Trying to Make You Something Else
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
What does living in integrity mean to you? Does it mean following the status quo, doing the “right” thing, or is it really about being in alignment with who you truly are?
In my last blog “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall Who is the Fairest of us All?” I talked about how other people and situations can mirror to us various “aspects” of ourselves. These “aspects” may not always be easy to look at. How we respond to other people when this mirror shows up will tell us whether we are truly living in alignment, and therefore integrity with who we truly are.
Here are the different ways that we may respond:
Reacting is an unconscious way we act out our beliefs based on how we think the situation or person should be in our view. When we react we come from one of two extremes. These extremes relate to our beliefs that are developed in our formative years. These beliefs are influenced by our family mostly, and reinforced by our culture, school and peers. Many people will align with the beliefs they were brought up with. Many do not question them. Some struggle to align with them but keep trying to because they feel the cost is too high not to. While others will rebel against the beliefs of their family and culture. This was my story and it is what we see many of our youth doing, which is a natural part of the process when growing up, except when it is taken to the extreme.
Acting is as you may have guessed when we act out our beliefs consciously. So we may have a conscious belief about something and choose to act in a certain way in response to certain situations or people. But, are we acting this way because we believe we “should” act this way, because that is the way we are supposed to act? Or are we acting this way in defiance to a something we don’t believe? Do you see that this form of acting is still really a form of reacting? Think about it when someone is acting… it is not really them… they are pretending to be something they are not. I started to “act” once I became more aware of my beliefs… but I still ultimately was reacting as I had not integrated what I knew with who I was. That happened next:
Here is a definition of proactive from businessdirectory.com:
Action and result oriented behavior, instead of the one that waits for things to happen and then tries to adjust (react) to them.
So as this definition states we are proactive when we are ready before things happen, rather than reacting after they happen. How can we be ready before something happens, when we don’t always know what or when something might happen?
Being ready goes back to what I mentioned earlier. How we respond to a situation is based on our beliefs about that situation. When we are proactive we have taken the time to get clear on what we believe which also includes exploring our values. We get clear on what is really important to us, not to out parents, our culture or our friends, but to us. We discern between beliefs and values that are rational and irrational, healthy and unhealthy and those that are serving us and those that are not. When we have taken this time and our beliefs are conscious we are no longer acting in ways because we think we “should” or because we are rebelling against something.
When we are proactive and those mirrors happen we are aware of what is happening and how we choose to respond to it. When we are able to act from this place, a place that is more grounded in being authentically ourselves, we have more presence and power and are much better prepared when situations do arise.
Do you want to have more presence and power in your life? If so watch for my next blog post… Moving into Alignment – The Power of Your Beliefs