Sunday, October 10, 2010

Living With Integrity

The older I get, the more important I think it is to demonstrate your strong character and integrity in the way you live life every day. It has been said that character is how you act when you think noone is watching. Much is revealed about each of us in whether our word means something ,if we keep our promises, if we are honest with people, if we follow through, and how we treat others. For those of us those of us who have children, what we actually DO means so much more than what we SAY.

What does your word mean? Those close to you will trust you deeply and you will have unshakeable credibility if you are honest and trustworthy, even when it takes emotional bravery. If you lie to loved ones to avoid conflict, or because you feel you don't owe them honesty, because you are so special( narcissist alert!), you will lose credibility and trust. To grow stronger in your personal character, decide today to be forthcoming, honest, and direct in your relationships, and see how much more real and intimate your relationships become. Your partner and your children can feel dishonesty. Your loved ones will intuitively know the difference.

How do you treat people who are serving you? Much is revealed about your character and integrity by how you treat wait staff, retail clerks, and other drivers. I personally feel everyone should have at least one job growing up where you serve others and we will all be more sensitized to the value of treating others with dignity and respect. Remember, your children are imprinting on the way in which you treat others------strangers, your spouse, your parents----and building a template for what they will do later in life.

Do you keep your promises and commitments? It can be as simple as arriving on time and demonstrating respect for other people's time. Avoid the temptation to make a habit of calling from your cell phone to explain your delays, and believing that makes it okay. Living life with integrity means you keep your word and plan ahead to do so without excuses.

Living life with character and integrity means you don't only think of yourself and what's in it for you. Instead, you can transcend self, and look at a situation fom another persons' perspective. How might this situation look from my spouse's or my son's perspective? People with integrity aren't self-absorbed. They realize that real happiness comes from doing for others, not just grabbing all the goodies for yourself. I have been so impressed to see how loving my dad is to my mom these last several years as she faces a life-threatening illness. People with character, like my parents, don't cut and run when things are challenging. These are the situations in each of our lives that reveal what we are made of.

Each week we get a fresh slate, and can begin again in a new and healthier way. What stuff are you made of?

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