The Secret Relationship Superpower - Integrity
I’ve been working in the relationship field for quite a while. One thing that happens so often I can almost set my watch by it is I’m asked to boil down complex concepts into a single soundbite. People ask me for the one thing they can do right away to put whatever I’ve been teaching into action.
That’s tough to do. After all I teach about avoiding abusive relationships, ending attraction to emotionally broken men, having a better life. They seem different on the surface.
But there’s one underlying principle and skill that helps enormously with all of it. Integrity.
That doesn’t mean integrity is always highlighted or even mentioned in the research I read. It’s often hidden in the descriptions or alluded to but not spoken about outright. In some ways it’s treated like a powerful secret that should only be whispered.
Yet, integrity is the one thing that underlies every fundamental relationship or personal growth approach that demonstrate strong, lasting results. It’s such a core concept you can think of it as another superpower, something that will set you apart from the crowd and improve your life across the board, personally and professionally.
Integrity – from Theory to Application
According to Oxford Languages, having integrity means, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. That’s nice but difficult to translate into practical information that can be used in your life.
When I use the term “integrity” I mean saying what you’ll do, and then doing what you say. It definitely includes a foundation of truthfulness and honesty. But in application it’s a simple credo by which to live your life.
How does it help? Having integrity assists you by increasing the trust others have of you. If you become a person of your word, you no longer have to yell, or threaten, or count to ten or else. Those around you know you won’t say you’ll do something unless you’re willing and able to back it up. You won’t declare a course of action, you won’t promise, unless you’re willing to move heaven and earth to manifest it.
Integrity is a subtle superpower because it allows you to be softer and still demonstrate strength. You can use a reasonable tone of voice. In fact, a reasonable tone is recommended because it shows more personal potency than shouting. Say if you do this, then this will be the consequence. Once you have integrity, the people around you will believe it.
In the last chapter of Fascination with the Devil, we cover the necessary steps to fundamentally improve your romantic taste. That requires real change. Transforming yourself is very difficult without integrity. Because the most important person to believe you when you say something is you.
I wish all aspects of personal growth were as simple to implement as integrity. It only requires small steps, and anyone can do it. The first step is a simple decision that you are always responsible for how you respond to the people and circumstances in your life. Then you take the second step, deciding you’re going to be a person of your word because nothing else is as important. You’ll be upfront and say what you’ll do, then do what you say. Always and without excuses.
What this means is that if you’ve told your family you’ll bring home some fruit and milk, and you get to the front door and realize you forgot, you don’t even stop. It’s okay to put your purse inside and perhaps change into comfortable clothes and shoes. Then you immediately go back out and get what you promised to bring home. If dinner is on the table, tell them to put a plate in the oven. No justifications, no rationalizations, even if they say they won’t mind if you delay. You said you’d do it, so you do it.
You don’t have to tell anyone you’re building your personal integrity. In fact, it’s best kept to yourself. You don’t want anyone else’s energy on your efforts, especially those who would doubt you or try to discourage or undermine you. And you keep going.
You become really careful and thoughtful before you promise to do anything at home or at work. You know if you say it, you’ll have follow through and complete the task. This is a core strength you’re building in yourself. It matters more than pleasing a boss or impressing your kids. Every time you keep your word, even if the commitment was only internally made to yourself, your confidence will grow. Your trust in yourself will build. Other people will begin trusting you, too, even if they can’t put their finger on why they believe you whenever you say something.
Gaining integrity is simple to do and it usually doesn’t take a great deal of time before it starts to set in. I won’t claim it’s easy, because if personal integrity is new to you, it may be challenging at first. And consistency is key. You’ll have to stop yourself from slipping into your old ways, whether that’s making excuses for not following through, or allowing someone to get away with something when you told them you’d hold them fully accountable. If you slip up, that’s okay. Tell yourself you’re just not there yet. And start again. Integrity is something anyone and everyone can possess.
The Rewards of Inegrity
Having integrity is worth it. Even without considering anyone else, if you have personal integrity you can coach yourself through difficult tasks or gain new skills by telling yourself, “You’ve got this.” Just like everyone else, you’ll believe in yourself when you declare something.
With integrity you’ll be viewed as someone genuine, moral and trustworthy. Reliable, dependable, honest will also be words used to describe you. You can imagine how your professional profile will improve if those who work with you describe you this way. It will give your kids, even if they’re teenagers, a solid role model to follow. Your partner will admire you for it, and know that you’re not someone who will accept poor treatment or betrayal.
You’ll also become less tolerant of people without integrity. In this case, intolerance is actually a good thing. One of the key aspects across the various types of emotionally dangerous men is low integrity. They cannot be trusted. Either they deceive in order to cheat on their partner, they manipulate through promises they never intend to honor, or they exploit other people’s emotions or past histories to get their way. These are all behaviors people of integrity don’t do. The more you build your integrity, the wider the gap will become between you and any type of emotionally dangerous man.
My only point of caution here is as you build your integrity, keep your eyes open. Don’t believe other people will keep their word just because you do. Pay attention to see if they keep their word about small things. Those without integrity on small matters won’t have integrity about big ones. You don’t have to dislike them or reject them. You just don’t trust them to follow through and don’t rely on their integrity for anything that’s important to your life.
If you’re following me on my website because you’re looking for a better relationship, trying to emotionally leave a disastrous relationship behind, or even advising someone else, know that integrity is a key factor in what we’re doing. All of the best relationships have mutual integrity as a cornerstone in their foundation. Bad relationships don’t. I want you to have the best relationships possible, personal and professional.