Your Integrity is Showing
By Z Zoccolante
In one of my favorite TV shows, the Simpsons, Bart stands on the diving board of his backyard pool attempting to show off to his friends. The bully, Nelson, yells up to him, “Hey your epidermis is showing,” and Bart croons his head in panic to look over his body and ends up falling and breaking his arm.
I think about this quote as I think, “Your integrity is showing.”
Recently I’ve been mulling over that word: Integrity. What does it means to have it? How you know when someone doesn’t?
When we trust someone and they break promises, or don’t have our backs, there is a painful sense of letdown, disappointment, and betrayal.
We’ve all felt what it feels like to be the one on the other side of this. We can see it happen when people cheat on their partners, or in ruptures in friendships or business deals.
Integrity is first defined as is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. The second definition though, speaks to my soul: the state of being whole and undivided.
If we are whole and undivided we value others, we stand by our word, we are upfront and clear. If there is a rupture, we do everything we can to make it right.
I once knew someone who I felt was incredibly integrous in their dealings with me – until they weren’t. Does that make them a bad person? No. But it shows how the choices someone makes has a ripple effect.
I remember the fallout, when this person that I used to trust with my life, became someone I was afraid of – afraid of what they were capable of doing to harm me and unravel my life.
Integrity goes hand in hand with trust and when there’s no trust there’s nothing there anymore.
Integrity is something you can feel. You can observe it by the words people say and the actions that follow. Are they in alignment and congruent? Does someone say one thing and do another? Do they leave you with that unsettling feeling in your soul?
I’ve learned that if someone is willing to treat someone else poorly then it’s only a matter of time until I’m on the receiving end of that as well. I remember in high school I was friends with a girl that everyone told me was such a bitch. However, she was super nice to me. Then one day on an outer island field trip she decided to have everyone gang up on me. It was only then that I realized, “Oh yes, THIS is what people were telling me. I just couldn’t see it until it happened to me.”
Just like trust is built over time and consistency so is integrity and like liquid it seeps into everything we do.
It’s one of the most visible things about us, even if we think people can’t see it. They can!
Your integrity is always showing.
And if you, like me, have a strong sense of loyalty to people or things, here’s something that hit home for me in the last month –
When you get different information, you can make a different choice. Let’s say I’m traveling and meet a guy that seems really cool. He invites me to a bar and I say yes and then when we’re there I say something and he has an angry outburst.
I just received new information, a red flag. I don’t have to be loyal anymore to my decision to stay at the bar with him. New information, new decision.
If someone or something in your life right now doesn’t feel like it’s integrous, you can make a different choice.
Make the choice that serves you well – to walk away, to heal, to seek therapy, etc. Use everything as a learning experience to fine tune closer to your desires.
Observe people and yourself, because just like Bart up high on the diving board:
Your integrity is always showing.