With lots of guidance from our good friend/Positive Psychology and Philosophy guru Taylor Kreiss, this month we dug deep (like, really deep) into the theme of Integrity. Guided by many thoughtful researchers and writers at the Positive Psychology Center at UPenn, the Positive Psychology Program in The Netherlands, and the VIA Institute on Character, here are a few things we learned about integrity this month:
1. Outward matches inward.
This is where we begin. Outward matches inward. A simple definition that can be hard to put into practice at times. When we live with integrity, our actions and words reflect our convictions, what we feel, what we believe to be true and important. When have your values been challenged? When have you had to stand up for something you feel strongly about, and how did you react?
We consider this definition of Integrity further in our Curated Resources.
2. Start with what you know.
In order to live with integrity, we first have to have a clear sense of what’s important to us. Our values are shaped and reshaped throughout our lives as we grow, learn, and build life experience. It’s important to sit down from time to time and take stock of what values really matter to us. When we know with certainty what we care most about, we can better align our actions toward those things.
We work through an in-depth exercise to identify our core values in this month’s Integrity Guide.
3. Reflect on our tendencies towards inauthenticity.
We all let things slide from time to time. Maybe we put up a facade or tell a little white lie to protect ourselves from judgment, to avoid an awkward situation, or just to make getting through the day easier. Maybe we fail to answer honestly when someone asks us how we’re feeling, or pretend to have read a book we haven’t. These aren’t necessarily life-shattering, harmful lies, but they add a layer of inauthenticity to our interactions. The important thing is to reflect on why we do these things. When we analyze and question our moments of inauthenticity, we get closer to understanding our deeper fears and anxieties.
4. Ask the hard questions.
Our values and the things we care about are shaped by our experiences. We’re all (yes, all!) limited in our perspectives, and opening ourselves up to people and ideas that challenge our beliefs is essential and makes us more understanding and empathetic. Living with integrity means confronting our long-held beliefs and opinions, it means working to align those values towards goodness a little more each day. Often that involves asking tough questions and allowing ourselves to change. ❤️
5. Start with ourselves.
There is so much that happens in our lives and the world at large that we have no control over. As individuals, we can’t rid the world of all injustice, pain, or suffering. But we can start with ourselves.
On Being columnist Sharon Salzberg writes: “Committing to speaking truthfully and without the intention to do harm, to listening carefully to what others have to say and to remembering that all of us are struggling to make sense of a changing world, will allow us to stand strong amid the chaos. You cannot control the world, the country, your town, the mood swings of those you love, but you can try to create around you a little bit of space that is all your own, a place where the rules of interaction you’ve chosen make sense and your actions have integrity."
This beautiful passage reminds us that while our ability to change the world might be limited, it’s still something. Let’s start with ourselves, with every conversation, with every interaction, and those small changes will add up.
We explore the powerful impact of integrity in our Curated Resources this month.
Hey, Members. 👋 Don’t forget to check out this month’s theme page to access the Integrity Guide, Curated Resources, and the Integrity Art desktop and mobile art downloads to go a little deeper into each of these concepts and keep the theme at the front of your mind this month!
Love to write?
Every month we select a few writers to help us explore what it means to live more fully and mindfully. Reach out to Jennifer, our Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about contributing.
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This article is part of our series on the theme of Integrity.EXPLORE Integrity
Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.VIEW OUR THEMES