Living an honest life seems like an impossible task. In our hyper connected world, I feel my identity fragmenting between social media, my work life, and private personas. As I am continually torn in myriad directions, I find myself questioning the very notion of truth — not the capital T, but the smaller, less obvious truths about life — and my role in it.

Am I an honest person? Do I speak the truth? Or is it more nuanced than that?

One of my personal values is integrity. I try to lead an honest life but it's not always so easy. If I didn't have to take into account the world I interact with, I'm sure I could walk around "speaking my truth" and no one would care or get offended. But it doesn't work like that. We're all intertwined in a beautifully awkward dance of social norms, expectations, and performed roles. So how does one navigate such unchartered territories?

It just takes a little grit.

Grit is having a backbone. Courage, determination, and tenacity.

Grit is strength of character. Resolve. Bravery.

Grit is that gut feeling. 

All of these things contribute to a life of integrity where your actions are in alignment with your values. But, as Judith Lasater reminds us her book Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life: "Life is practice, practice is life." 

It's all a process, an unfolding — a repeated application of an idea, belief or activity in order to get better at it. When it comes to integrity in my own life, I see success most often when I first take the time to unpack my thoughts and beliefs. Then, I put it into action. It's a clunky process with a lot of missteps but that's the point. I keep showing up, practicing, and repeating the process.

Grit helps me when I don't have enough motivation. It's the thing I can turn to when I can see the right path but aren't wearing the right shoes for the journey. Grit demands I bear down and lean into it, even though it would be easier to pay less attention and coast through life. Grit is always available; rumbling quietly in your core, ready to leap into action. All you have to do is listen.

 

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Marion Piper practices grit on a daily basis while also writing things, drawing things, researching things, and traveling to things. You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Integrity.

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