Just For Today, I will Work With Honesty And Integrity
In learning how to be authentic with yourself, the next Reiki Principle that we shall look at is:
“Just for today, I will work with honesty and integrity”
At first glance this Precept might be difficult to understand or put into context. What does it mean to work with honesty and integrity in all of our affairs? Let us begin by looking at the definition of both those words.
The word Honesty means: “to be sincere, free of deceit” or “trying to show someone the truth of something”.
Integrity is primarily defined as: “having solid moral principles”. However, its secondary definition is interesting as it refers to the “structural integrity” of physical objects, words and actions, “a state of being whole and undivided”. From this definition we get a sense of unity and interconnectedness to the word integrity. It also paints a picture of something being solid and strong, unbreakable.
Therefore, to work with honesty and integrity means to be your authentic self, with strong boundaries and without apology or excuses. Therefore, in this post we will focus on learning how to be authentic with yourself.
What Does It Mean To Be Authentic?
Being authentic means to be honest with yourself and others in terms of your personality and integrity and how you interact with the world. It means to share your gifts and talents, the things that make you uniquely you.
In order to do this, first we must understand ourselves well. Understanding ourselves comes with strong boundaries because naturally when we begin to understand ourselves and develop a unique sense of self then we begin to perceive what we will or will not tolerate in terms of other peoples behavior.
Having a strong personality that is authentic means that you cannot be manipulated or controlled. This is a very positive thing because when someone has a strong sense of honesty within themselves and solid integrity then they know who they are and what they are worth. What’s more, when you know who you are and what you are worth then you will always see the good in others. Our external environment is always a reflection of our internal beliefs about ourselves.
Why Do We Become Inauthentic?
It’s all well and good to understand the principles of authenticity and what it means, but how do we put it into action in our lives, and what does that look like in a tangible sense? Before we answer this first we must understand where lack of honesty and integrity in our lives comes from. When do we first start to learn to be inauthentic with ourselves?
It begins, as most of these things do, in childhood. As mammals, we are very social creatures and as human beings we are born completely dependent on our mothers to survive. One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Teal Swan, uses the following analogy: If you put a crying child on the floor and leave him there for days then he will die.
Therefore, for a baby to be abandoned literally means death. If we carry this fear into adulthood then is it any wonder that we are so afraid to be alone?
As babies and young children it takes us a very long time to begin to become independent enough to care for our own needs. If you compare this to other animals as infants then you will see that they are more able to fend for themselves and fight off predators at a much younger age. Therefore, human beings as a species are completely relationally dependent.
We Learn To Become Inauthentic In Order To Survive
In order to fit into our families and social groups then we learn to turn against ourselves to avoid abandonment and ultimately death. We conform to survive and by doing so we receive care and love from others. In childhood, we learn to adapt our personality in order to gain acceptance from our care givers.
The surrounding adults that are responsible for our care will label certain behaviors as “good” or “bad” and it becomes our job as children to fit ourselves into the box labeled “good”. In order to avoid being abandoned by those whose job it is to care for us and look after our needs. Being labeled as “bad” at its best means, we are left alone emotionally or socially, and at its worst death. We simply must fit in and conform in order to survive.
Since we all carry this fear of being different and being abandoned because of it, then this leads us to fear that which falls outside of what we define as being “normal”. Meaning that anyone in childhood who is a bit different is liable to become a target for bullies.
Therefore, not only are we born into this family structure that demands conformity and sameness in order to survive but as we grow older we are indoctrinated into a system of society that teaches us to fight to protect it. As if we don’t then we are abandoned or bullied by our friends. This makes it even more difficult for the child or adult who seeks to show their authentic self to the external world.
Being Inauthentic Creates An Enemy Within Your Own Skin
In short, we become inauthentic in order to fit into society and our family structure. By doing so we turn against ourselves and create conflict and confusion within. We no longer know who we are, as all of our lives we have attempted to please others in order to survive and this has become our core personality.
It is important also to note that who we are is innate and inherent. This means that our personality and character is born, not made. Yes our upbringing does play a part but ultimately who we really are deep down is a part of our very soul that can never be changed or modified.
Unfortunately this means that if we are born into a family whose personality and structure is incompatible with ours then we will turn against ourselves in order to survive. The more incompatible you are with your family then the more you will create an enemy of yourself. This is your inner critic and it is the enemy that you can never escape from, the one that lives within your very skin.
This act of turning against yourself and creating an enemy within in order to survive in a social group can be understood further by learning about “fragmentation”. Fragmentation is when the personality splits into multiple fragments. The more that you are forced to turn against yourself in childhood to fit into your family dynamic then the more of these different personality fragments you will have.
Fragmentation is a direct result of trauma. To understand more about “fragmentation” from spiritual teacher Teal Swan please refer to the following article. Fragmentation (the worldwide disease). Or alternatively you can watch the video posted underneath on the topic.
How To Be Authentic With Yourself
So finally, now that we understand all the ins and outs of inauthenticity, how and why it manifests in our lives, we can take a look at changing this.
Start by being honest with yourself and what you like or don’t like. Begin to get to know yourself as a person. Set clear boundaries in regards to who you are. To understand more about boundaries please see my recent blog post on the topic “Understanding Boundaries plus 8 Healthy Ways to Cope with Anger”.
Start to define your morals and figure out why are they important to you. How important are your principles to you? What would you be willing to give up in order to stand by them?
For example, recently I had a situation at work where I was under an excessive amount of stress. I said nothing, however I really was struggling and as a result some of my colleagues noticed that I looked visibly upset. They then asked me if everything was okay? To which I replied with an honest answer that no I really wasn’t okay, I found the demands of the job excessively stressful and as a result of that I would not be returning to work at that particular place. I then proceeded to get on with my job for the remainder of the day .
Afterwards, I was reprimanded kindly by my employer, who had sent me to work there as an agency worker, that my response was a little unprofessional. I agreed with her on that point, but stated that when asked a direct question about how I was coping, I felt put on the spot to answer honestly. She gave me the advice that if that kind of situation happened again in the future then I should lie and pretend everything was okay.
The place that I worked that day had very recently lost more than half of its staff members in a period of a few months. There were many other complaints from staff about feeling overworked and stressed. Therefore, clearly I was not the only one who felt under pressure. To me it was clear that there was a problem with the management and not the staff as there were serious issues with staff that were not being addressed or given a fair hearing.
I was polite and agreeable when addressed about my honest and unprofessional answer. However, silently and internally I made a promise to myself that I was not going to return to work at that particular place or in the same capacity as an agency worker for that company. For me to lie in that situation about how I felt working there might have been the professional thing to do but it was not the moral thing to do as it went against my own code of ethics.
I was prepared to remain silent about the stressful working conditions that I was put under but I was not prepared to lie about it when asked a direct question. That to me would have been unethical because in my mind I would have been unsupportive towards staff members who felt the same way by not standing by them to get these things addressed. I would have been adding to the problem by brushing important issues under the carpet and lying about them, hence perpetuating the problem. Furthermore, it would have been dishonest to myself and others.
Therefore, to work with honesty and integrity in that situation meant that I needed to be willing to give up my job. So you see? Authenticity is not always an easy choice. Most frequently it is the most difficult decision that you will ever have to make and one that goes against the grain. Often, being truly authentic in any given situation is a real test of your morals and character and it can feel very uncomfortable to do.
Our authenticity can be challenged in regard to what we would do to obtain money, in terms of working conditions and ethics. Another way that our authenticity can commonly be challenged is in regard to boundaries in personal relationships. These things are always a test of character and not always the easiest decisions to make.
However, if we wish to be truly authentic or work with honesty and integrity. Then we must stand by our principles and be ourselves even if it means rejection. We must trust that the universe knows best and is bringing us what we need. In that particular situation I trusted the universe to bring me a new and better working situation and as a result of that, this week I was offered a new job. It is not always easy but if we trust and believe that things will work out then often times they do.
Integrity in the definition at the beginning referred to “a state of being whole and undivided”. This suggests that inauthenticity means to be divided into many parts without a sense of unity or inter-connectedness. This relates exactly to the topic of fragmentation that we were talking about earlier. To turn against yourself in order to fit in with others and as a result create discord within is to lack integrity.
When you begin to be honest with yourself with integrity and love yourself for who you are then by basis of the law of attraction, other people will feel safe around you to be who they are too. You will attract others who do the same. Therefore, although being authentic initially may look like you are loosing people or things from your life, do not lose hope. You are simply loosing these things in order to make space for new people and opportunities that align with who you are as a person.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading my blog post about how to be authentic with yourself. If you have any questions or comments then please leave then below and I would be more than happy to help you out.