Integral Behavior.

Photo/quote Cred: NOT me, haha. But can't remember where I stole this from :(

When I was a kid, I went to church with my family. And we would have these projects where we had to institute a theme from a set of values into it. I think there were eight to choose from, one of which was Integrity. And I remember that I avoided it like the plague. I can vividly remember, at the time, feeling like I was NOT the person to preach about Integrity because I felt that it would make me a liar. I went to church with my family but was not fully invested in it, and therefore felt that I had no integrity of my own and shouldn't preach to other people about it because that was hypocritical. So I avoided using that theme at all costs. 

It wasn't until years later that I realized that my decision not to discuss integrity WAS, in fact, evidence of my own. I didn't want to lie to people; I didn't want to pretend that I was one thing and secretly be another. And honestly- I think that was pretty rad that my 16 year-old self was that firm in the concept. 

I'm an honest person, almost to a fault. And I don't try to wrack myself with too much guilt when I mess up, but I try very hard to live with a sense of being the person I know I ought to be. I know this whole entry is going to sound very preachy, but this is something important to me, and I think it should be addressed. 

I'm a big believer in doing what you say you'll do. Anyone who knows me is aware that I rarely say I will do something, only to not even attempt it. If I know I'm going to shortchange it, I generally admit that it's not in my plans. I used to do this when people would make plans that I didn't have any intention of following through, but realized that saying I'm going to go and not showing up is more unfair than just saying, "I can't make it." 

I am not a perfect person, obviously. But I also try to live the sort of life that I don't need to apologize for. I mess up, and sometimes feelings get hurt, but never intentionally. I just can't fathom a mindset where you would do something JUST to spite someone else. It makes no sense to me. I don't know... I guess you have to be in a pretty bad place to feel comfortable with that kind of attitude. 

I read through some of my online journal yesterday (what, you thought I told you everything?) and was amazed at the pattern of my thoughts. I would go into the world with this very "screw you" attitude whenever I was upset, and almost immediately stop in my tracks and remember that I'm not that person. I don't want my behavior to be based around someone else, or what they may have done to wrong me. Because what kind of person would that make ME? I don't want to be that guy. I want to live a life where my behaviors are intentional and purposeful. It just makes more sense to me to be the one in control of myself- and not someone else controlling how I approach my life. 

And I guess that, to me, that's what Integrity is. It's being in charge of yourself and being who you are for YOU, and nobody else. It's being confident in your decisions and doing what you say you'll do; it's being who you say you are. And that, friends, is the person I want to be.

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