Integrity means taking responsibility for our actions. We must powerfully stand in our truth and own our actions, and thereby, their consequences. Do it without attaching a judgment to it, so in your mind it’s not “I did this good thing” or “I did this bad thing,” but rather, I did this thing. Period. Own it. Integrity is powerful and it feels great, even when the action you're owning is not so great.
But the all-too-often victim of circumstance -- finger-pointing, justifying, excusing, explaining away behavior -- well, there’s simply no power in that. No integrity. No truth or honesty. You are not a victim of circumstance; you are a product of your choices and decisions. The act of standing firmly on your feet and stating clearly what you did, without explanation or excuses, THAT is powerful. From that single act, you glean power, confidence and direction. It does not excuse or condone the action, nor does it applaud or validate it. But it DOES, in fact, give power to the owner. Because now that action is yours to do with what you will.
So, what will you do with it? Allow your experience to be your teacher. Allow both good and poor choices to guide you respectively. Be willing to be right; be willing to be wrong; be willing to stand and face your music. Let the past hold the flashlight on your path forward, as you stand boldly in the present, and step courageously into your future.
Will others judge you for your actions? Oh hell yes they will, because judgers gonna judge, and sometimes with a vengeance! Sadly, people tend to suck that way. For some reason, we take pleasure in other people’s pain. We relish in others’ mistakes, thinking it somehow validates or justifies our own. But it doesn't, not really, not at all. Those who condemn and judge you are making their choices in those moments, which have their own lessons. Remember, someone else's judgment of you is not about you, it's about them, and you don't have to believe or subscribe to it. Notice if you feel charged by it. If you're especially bugged by someone's judgment, then it's likely you believe it too, which means there's some soul-searching for you to do. Otherwise, leave it alone and stay in your lane.
But yes, be willing to be judged. Why? Because it's an unavoidable piece of Life’s Puzzle, and there is no truth or integrity in denying or avoiding it. And here’s the really important part. How we respond and cope with being judged is what matters, and what makes the difference. When we believe in ourselves, make deliberate choices, and act with integrity and truth, the judgments can no longer stick, and we are able to let them bounce off of us. Remember this childhood chant: I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. Children are actually quite brilliant aren’t they?
If we are blessed, life's road is long and winding. Even John Lennon said so....ironically. #RestInPeaceJohnLennon. But the point is: life will continue, and the one thing we can most certainly count on is change. No matter how much we love or hate the way things are in this very moment, we know for certain it will not stay this way. So there’s the good news and the bad news. I choose to see it as good news always. Every new day we get a clean slate, and we get the opportunity to choose. Choose the same or choose differently. Choose something new, choose tried-and-true. All of these can be good choices .... or bad ones. The secret (and it’s not supposed to be a secret!) is to use our experience as guidance when choosing. When we do that, we can choose deliberately, with purpose and intention. I dare say, choices made this way will steer us in the right directions.
It’s your choice – choose wisely.