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Integrity: Say What You Mean

            Do you remember being a teenager and your parents were “cramping your style”. Did you ever say things like “I hate you!” “I’m going to run away!” – If you never went through the phase of disliking your parents I applaud you – but many of us did and we remember just how mean we were back then when we “knew everything.” Even when we were saying those hurtful things, deep down we loved our parents immensely. We were created to love our parents from the moment we were conceived, and that love grows and morphs in various ways as we age. As adults, thankfully most of us have a much better relationship with our parents. You may have even apologized for your teenage behavior, and came to learn your parents, in their wisdom and understanding, already forgave you.

We didn’t understand it then, even though the anger we felt towards our parents was real, we didn’t actually hate them. We learned somewhere along the way to say things that didn’t quite line up with how we TRULY felt.

             Integrity has multiple applications within our adult lives. One of the aspects of integrity is mentioned in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements”: Be Impeccable with Your Word. In other words: Say what you mean. This applies mostly to our negative emotional outbursts as we are severely prone to succumbing to verbal outbursts and impulses in emotional moments. Rather than the calm, collected and rational self, in our pain we lash out sometimes hurting the ones we love most, all by accident. This ultimately leaves us having to do some damage control afterwards. We feel badly for what was said, we reiterate that we didn’t mean it and apologize. If this sounds like a familiar cycle to you, let’s look at how we can possibly break that cycle.

            Let’s first look at how this cycle is created. When we start to feel hurt or angry, we tend to want to blame another person for our emotions. We often justify making the other person feel bad either through guilt or manipulation.  We pull out every trick in the book, so that the person whom we thought hurt us, is now hurting just as much as we are. Next time you feel the need to blame others, start by taking ownership for your emotions. Now this is not to say, that if someone is trying to intentionally hurt you, it’s absolutely reasonable to feel hurt but perhaps take a step back and understand that they may be stuck in a hurtful cycle of their own. When we take responsibility for our emotions, we won’t blame the other person for what we are feeling. When we avoid blaming the other person for what we are feeling, we can better communicate how WE are feeling rather than trying to create a disturbance in how others are feeling.

            Integrity is about thinking first and then with responsibility, articulating how you feel. When you are feeling hurt or betrayed, you don’t need to get trapped in the blame game and spread your pain. What we can do is take ownership for how we are feeling and communicate our truth. Responsibly share with your loved one that you are feeling hurt, confused, ashamed, angry, sad, etc. Tell them what led to you feeling this way, without using “you” statements, and instead, using “I” or “me” statements. You’ll find that becoming impeccable with your word will lead to a higher sense of spiritual and emotional well-being. You’ll have interrupted the pain-spreading cycle and instead replaced it with a cycle of honesty and understanding. Let’s continue to say what we TRULY mean, be the LIGHT beings we are called to be, and ultimately Spread Shine!

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