Saturday, May 2, 2009

Integrity - An Essential Tool for Visioning and Relationships

I hear loud voices and a door slam shut! My husband and my daughter have exchanged harsh words and he storms into the kitchen moments later, furious; Our daughter has called him an a__hole and both he and I shake our heads in disbelief. Where did this awful voice come from? Our daughter has never used such language with my husband and I. Together, we wonder what has gotten into her and what has provoked it.

A few minutes later, I learn the horrible truth. I have provoked it. Not consciously, but nonetheless, I have sent her mixed messages and this is the result. She tells me she is tired of the double standard in our house. She says, "You constantly let Robert get away with disrespectful behavior and I'm entitled to vent my frustrations too!"

Upon reflection, I can definitely see her point of view. For far too long, I have excused his rude behavior. While feeling sorry for him and his learning challenges at school, I have chosen to ignore his snide remarks, while preaching that I valued respect. By turning my back and not naming the inappropriate behavior, I have been sending mixed messages to both my daughter and son and saying in my inaction that I condone this disrespect. Seeing the behavior go unnamed, with no serious consequences, it had become contagious in our home. Wow, what an AHA moment I got! While I truly intend to right my wrong, and change my behavior in this regard, I see an opportunity to make the point stick.

I will share this lesson with my visioning group and show that we are all works in progress! I had planned to talk to the participants about integrity and how it is very important to honor our agreements with ourselves and others if we want to live the lives that we dream of. I was planning to connect integrity with visioning. Now, I would be able to talk about integrity on a whole new level and with an added dimension.

You might be wondering, "What does integrity have to do with effective visioning and relationships?" I respond, "Integrity is an essential tool that often makes or breaks our dreams and relationships. When we act with integrity, we send out clear messages, we honor the truth within and our actions mirror our values. When we live up to our promises, we feel more deserving and become more receptive to the abundance we desire. We can look in the mirror, see ourselves and feel confident. "

Others want to work with us, because they know where we stand and can depend on us to do what we promise. Living your life with integrity brings you peace of mind and sound sleep patterns. As a result, you will have more energy and clear focus when you wake up the next day. With energy and focus, you can march at a steady pace in the direction of your visions.

What I have come to know without a shadow of a doubt, is that when I have not honored my commitments and my actions have been out of sync with my values, I have felt restless, stuck, and have been unable to make significant progress on my dreams. At such times, my mind wanders back to unresolved issues. I try to make excuses for not doing what I promised to do and try to put it out of mind, only to have it resurface moments later. To move forward, I find that I must resolve the issue and "finish the unfinished business."

Living in integrity, means that you say “no” when a friend calls to invite you to an event that is not appealing to you. Before saying yes, you insure that the activity rates high on your internal "passion scale." You actively seek to reduce the activities that fill your days, but not your heart. You eliminate unnecessary activities to make space for new interests. You avoid making casual promises that you later regret. When we do these things, we feel worthy, our self esteem improves and we develop trust in ourselves and others know what is important to us.

To be truly in integrity, it is not enough to honor agreements we make with others and ourselves, we must also honor our values and demonstrate this honor in our words and actions. We cannot turn our heads and look the other way when we see or witness harm being done or our children acting out in disrespect.

If you value respect like I do, you must confront the misdeed immediately and let the person who has offended you know that disrespect is not tolerated and that it has negative consequences in building relationships at home, school and work. If you just shrug it off like I did, you will send out a message that these remarks are acceptable and they will escalate in intensity and regularity, taking more of your time and energy away from your vision.

I encourage you to learn from my mistakes. Integrity is an essential tool for building relationships and dreams. With integrity, you are steady, your messages are clear and your focus is undeniable. With this intensity, your dreams are closer than you can imagine. Clarity comes next.

Are you ready to get clarity and move closer to your vision?

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