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How to Strengthen Your Self-Integrity

October 6, 2010

How to Strengthen Your Self-Integrity:

Our values affect our daily life and whether or how we achieve longer term objectives. They affect how others perceive and respond to us. Self-integrity is about being true to our values, beliefs and convictions. Our values and self-integrity are intricately intertwined and reflected in our behavior.

Values reflect choices we make, consciously or unconsciously, about how we live our lives. They are frequently unarticulated, yet we demonstrate them in our behavior patterns and decisions. Examples of values include honesty, generosity, kindness, compassion, respect, loyalty, service, fairness, humility, righteousness, and courage of convictions. Our actual values are defined by the sum of our choices and actions, rather than by what we say or believe them to be. At times it may be challenging to align our stated values with our actions or we may act without thinking. We may say something is important to us, while our behavior tells a different story. For example, we may claim we value kindness, but turn around and make hurtful comments or be more inconsiderate than we realize. Aligning our values with our actions is a daily, even moment-to-moment, process. The greater the alignment, the greater our self-integrity.

If we do not consistently model our claimed values, others can only guess about what is important to us. They form assumptions and reach conclusions based on the behaviors they observe. In a sense, our values are largely defined by the perceptions of others and they become judges of our integrity. If you go the extra mile for someone, reach out to help a colleague, or treat others with grace and a good heart, people may describe you as kind; however, if you are short-tempered, self-centered, impatient, or hurtful to others, they would characterize you in a different way. Many  of us have a habit of practicing one set of values with some people and another set with others, perhaps based on how we feel about them or recent encounters. Overall, however, we strengthen our self-integrity when we align our actions with our stated values regardless of the situation.

Our self-integrity connects with living a meaningful life, because it reflects who we truly are. When we live our stated values and have the courage of our convictions, we are true to ourselves. Doing so in tough situations, even when we are tempted to stray from them is the essence of self-integrity. It also reflects a deep sense of security in who we are and what we believe. As a result, our life becomes more personally meaningful to us and we feel better about who we are. And as our life takes on meaning for us, it also becomes more meaningful to others. We create trust when we are true to our values, beliefs, and what we stand for.

Take some time reflect on your values and convictions. How you demonstrate them more consistently? How can you heighten your self-integrity by better aligning your values and beliefs with your actual behavior?

Steve Weitzenkorn

Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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