When I hear people talk about their values, I notice that they use a wide variety of words. Honesty, hard work, loyalty, and open-mindedness are all values that people I know strive for. But one value seems to always rise to the top: integrity. It’s a value that is unassailable yet losing ground in modern society. Ironically, some still uphold integrity as a core value while acting against it in all their words and deeds. A lack of integrity is not only accepted but also sought after and celebrated—from behind a veil of denial. I thought it would be interesting to dive in and deconstruct the word, the value, and the way it’s expressed. Before researching the word, I thought about what it means to me. In my mind, it suggests a quality of “honesty plus”—honesty at one’s core.
Reality is a squishy thing.
Our perception and interpretation of the conditions and events in our lives are what drive our reality—even more so than the conditions and the events themselves. That’s why certain people living in what most would call trying conditions appear to thrive, while others who “have everything” are depressed and anxious. There are also people that will fight reality every step of the way. They can’t accept certain events or conditions, so they don’t. Most people live on the very surface of reality, while others are able to delve into their reality and truly understand their place in the universe. If you can do this, you can start to influence and even create your own reality based on your life force and your influence.
Life is full of transitions. Some are big, life-altering changes, others are small changes in habits or activities, but transitions happen all the time. The more you’re conscious of them, the more intentional you can be. Try to notice any changes in your routine and ask yourself if they are intentional or just convenient. If you can be intentional about the little transitions, the decisions about big transitions will be easier to make.
It can be hard not to take things personally.
There are many situations in which we feel insulted, belittled, or attacked. People act in ways that don’t align with our most deeply held values or strongest beliefs and we feel it’s an affront to us personally. It doesn’t even have to be part of an interaction with us. We might see someone on TV or read about them spouting ideas that insult or offend us. Social media is another culprit. We see things all the time that make us incredulous. We can’t help but to leave a scathing comment in reply. Finally, we will invariably run across people who just don’t like us. So what can we do? How can we respond or react to these people appropriately? How can we not take it personally?
All of us feel pain at some point in our lives.
Most of us experience moderate pain, and some of us have to endure chronic, intense pain for extended periods. Pain is there for a reason—to warn us of harm, to let us know that something is wrong, or to stop us from doing further damage. It’s generally not pleasant, and is sometimes difficult or impossible to endure. But pain and suffering are not the same thing. Pain is a signal, and suffering is our reaction to it. In some cases, it’s possible to control or reinterpret that reaction and decrease or cease our suffering. It’s certainly easier said than done, and it may not work for everyone or in every circumstance, but it’s worth exploring.