Are you living with integrity? Do you want to improve the way you view yourself? It is amazing how often our behaviors differ from our most cherished values and beliefs. We may value honesty, yet lie to a friend or spouse because we are shameful about a particular behavior. We may believe that exercise is important, but sit on the coach hour after hour watching television. We may value our child’s education, but allow our own interests to interfere with our ability to help our children with their homework in the evening.
When our behaviors and our values are incongruent, our self-esteem goes down and we do not feel peace and happiness. How can we be satisfied with our life when our actions and beliefs are not in sync? Do you believe nutrition is important while you are enjoying a burger and fries from a nearby fast food place for the fourth time this week? Do you believe quality time with your family is important, but spend most of your time attached to your phone? Do you feel peace about it?
While working with recovery groups at a substance abuse rehabilitation center, we spent a lot of time discussing this topic. Due to an addiction, many substance abusers have abandoned their values and beliefs, and their behaviors don’t reflect who they really are, only who they are under the influence of the addiction. Once these individuals get into recovery, they are better able to synchronize their actions and beliefs. It is then that their self-esteem improves.
When we live with integrity we feel better about ourselves. We can make mistakes and feel a certain amount of peace knowing that we did our best. Remember that no one is perfect and if we hold ourselves to that standard, we will always feel like we have failed in some way. The important thing is to always do what we believe is right. We are going to fall down and mess up from time to time, we all do. But if our actions go hand in hand with our beliefs, we will be able to get up and bounce back, knowing we did our best.