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What Does It Mean To Have Integrity?

Feb 18, 2008
When I was in school training to be a psychotherapist, one of my professors introduced me to a concept that I find very valuable: "bad faith."

We are in bad faith with ourselves and others when we are out of alignment with what is true for "who we really are."

Who we really are - who is this?

Let's talk about who you really are in terms of your essential Self - the soul within that is a spark of the Divine.

All of us have an essence that is an individualized expression of the Divine. Our essence is love, kindness, peace, joy, and truth. We are in bad faith - not in integrity - whenever we go against our true Self, our essence.

The problem is that most people do not operate from their essence. In fact, they may not even know they HAVE an essence. Many people think they are their ego - their wounded self. However, the ego wounded self has no sense of integrity. This aspect of us is all about control. And controlling behavior is the opposite of behaving with integrity. When we want to have control over others and outcomes, we may behave in bad faith - against the love, kindness, and truth of our essence.

Being in integrity means that we do not behave in ways that go against our essence. This means that we behave with honesty, reliability, and caring - with ourselves and with others.

How do we know when we are out of integrity - when we are operating in bad faith? We know by paying attention to our feelings. Our feelings are our inner guidance system, letting us know when we are thinking and behaving in ways that are in alignment with our essence, and when we are not.

The reason that so many people can behave in ways that are not in integrity is that they have chosen to ignore their feelings, or numb out their feelings with various addictions. When we choose to avoid our inner guidance system, then we can operate from our wounded self, behaving in ways that may harm ourselves and harm others.

Your wounded self thinks that you can get away with trying to control rather than act with integrity. The problem is that when you ignore your feelings - your inner guidance system - you are harming your own soul without knowing it. If you numbed your hand with Novocain and then cut into your finger while slicing bread, you would be harming yourself without knowing it. When you numb or ignore your feelings, you can do deep harm to your own soul without knowing it.

You might think that getting what you want, even if you are in bad faith, will make you happy. But there is no true joy when you are harming yourself and others to get what you want. You will experience joy only when you are behaving in alignment with the love, kindness, and truth of your soul essence.

We live in a time here in the U.S. where there is an enormous lack of integrity. Our government is not in integrity. Nor are many big corporations, such as insurance companies, drug companies, junk food companies, and so on. Unfortunately, our government and many big businesses are more interested in control than in integrity. They want control over getting the money they want, and they want the power that having money gives them. But they are harming their souls with this huge lack of integrity.

We are the only country in the world that does not have universal health care. The insurance company lobbies and drug company lobbies make sure that we will not have what every other country in the world has. I recently learned from seeing the movie "Sicko" that in France, people not only do not have to pay for health care, they do not have to pay for college, and the government pays for household help for new mothers!

In many other countries, people take care of each other, which is part of living in integrity. We certainly need some of that here!
About the Author
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" and "Healing Your Aloneness." She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or email her at margaret@innerbonding.com. Phone sessions available.
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