Integrity is something that is very important to me and it is one of my 4 core values (Integrity, Service, Spirit and Honesty) that I live by. Integrity is a trait that most people aspire to have or show and there are many reasons why. I’ll explain, but first; core values are what you shape your life around and they outline you as a person. It’s in your core values that your nature is revealed and you can align your behaviour with who you really are by your core values. Not everyone knows or has even thought about their core values, but whether you know them or not, you have them. And to me it all circles back to having integrity in how you live your core values in the first place that integrity is all about. Integrity is in part being authentic and being true and also it is about holding to your values. Therefore integrity requires that you know your core values and you can’t really have integrity without knowing yourself since then you simply can’t stand for what you believe in. You also can’t really have much integrity if your values are always changing, as then your values themselves don’t even have integrity, and since core values make up who you are, it’s impossible for your core values to easily change if they include integrity. It is the value that ensures you live up to your other values and to who you say you are.
Alignment with Yourself
Aligning your life with your core values not only shows integrity but it allows you to life in harmony with those values. It is a deep alignment and authenticity with your true core of your being. Awareness of this authentic self brings a lot of peace and understanding about your life, how you live it and what you stand for. It helps you to live a conscious “aware” life that is not as separated from your unconscious mind as if you did not tie to these core values. This connection right to the core allows you to make easier decisions and to feel good about them, as there is no internal unknown batter going on between your conscious and unconscious values.
Aligning Your Core is Never Easy
Aligning your decisions, your actions, your choices and thoughts with your true core is not easy and often it comes at a price. You will constantly be facing situations where taking one road is not as difficult as taking another and often the easy road is the one that does not align with your values. Making that choice to live congruently with your values might cost you time, criticism, difficult actions in order to do what is right or in alignment and sometimes it means not doing things you might otherwise be able to do had you ignored your values. It is these set of choices and alignment with your values that represent your authenticity with yourself and it can bring about a wonderful internal peace with yourself. It lets you live your life without regret, with the feelings of satisfaction and with that internal peace to let your life as a whole flow freely and easily. Individual decisions or choices may not always be easier, but your character and happiness in life will certainly benefit.
Every time you stray from your core values, you build up an internal stress that seems to pry its way in against your core values. A single decision or choice often presents itself with another one where it becomes something you feel you must justify why it was off your values in the first place. Doing this leads to similar justifications away from other values, especially when one is integrity. This off-course action chips about at your moral character and leads only to more situations where core values will be tested. It is easy to be trapped in a cycle of transformation away from your values and often this is made worse by the people we spend time with or the situations we face in our environment.
Protecting Your Core Values
Because of the situations we get into that test our core values, it is wise to know how to protect them. Obviously you can simply avoid these situations but doing this will lead you to live a very sheltered life with little interaction with others. Instead, it is better to learn ways to protect your core values while still living an interactive life.
Other people we interact with will shape and test our core values the most so there is some value in at least limiting our time spent with people who do not match our own authentic selves. Having close relationships with people and friends that do share our own values will help you to reinforce them and stay true to them. When your core values are not being tested, it is much easier to be authentic and honest in your relationships. Ensure you have a strong group of friends that do share many of your core values.
Sharing your core values is another way to protect them. Letting people know what you stand for and believe in before you are faced with a situation that tests any values, will make standing up for that much easier. In fact, it lets you use your integrity to your advantage since you know others will expect you to follow your values, it makes it that much easier to do so with that extra pressure. When others know your values, it is easy to rely on and ask for respect of that when there comes the time to deny a request or make a decision to maintain your integrity.
So in summary, there are 4 important pieces here to build your authentic core being:
- First, know your core values and use your integrity to live them to the core
- Second, align the choices and decisions in your life with your core values to be authentic and have a mind at peace
- Third, recognize when you your core values are challenged and make your choices and decisions based on them in order to stay in alignment with your core
- Finally, protect your core values by expressing them, sharing them and being honest about them before they are tested. This will allow you to have integrity right to the core.
You can read more about core values here in determining and sharing your core values. Also, my building better relationships eBook also has a whole chapter on authenticy and using that to build strong relationships.
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