Prompt 3: Integrity – Revealing the Whole You.

There’s always a gap between your inner aspirations and the messy, complex life that you actually lead. This week, we’re going to talk about closing that gap. Start by reading this book summary of The Speed of Trust, by Stephen Covey.

Part 1: Living to your higher aspirations

So many times, we want to live a certain way but we don’t live it. Why is that? Is it fear, laziness, or lack of imagination? All of those things?
One factor is the social context we live in. The expectations of others, for themselves and for you, have a hidden and pervasive effect on ours. Often times we worry more about our reputation than our character.

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing – Abraham Lincoln.”

It’s easy to tell someone to ignore what people think of them and follow their own guidance. In reality, that is much harder; we are social creatures and our realities are shaped by the context around us. How about actually using the power of social acceptance in your favor? Seth Godin suggests that the “single best strategy appears to be as you are, or more accurately, to live the life you’ve taught people to expect from you.” We can tell others how to treat us and hold us accountable by teaching them what to expect from us. The GameChangers GO community was created to do just that: to provide encouragement, support, and accountability to your higher aspirations. As Joseph Campbell says,

“Our life evokes our character, and you find out more about yourself as you go on. And it’s very nice to be able to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature, rather than your lower.”

Parker Palmer writes that embracing your true vocation is the act of living out your full self in the world, or in other words, acting on the outside in a way that matches some truth about yourself on the inside.

Does integrity take courage? Perhaps courage isn’t the actual virtue; integrity might simply be the decision to live with the certainty of a core, inner truth. Palmer describes Rosa Park’s decision to be arrested for disobeying segregation as her understanding that ”no punishment anyone might inflict upon (her) could possibly be worse than the punishment (of) conspiring in (her) own diminishment.” Sometimes failing to live in truth of your own inner self is not a real option. Gandhi talked about how our inner life manifests out to our outer world:

“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our character, our character becomes our destiny.”

Part 2: Accepting the Whole of You.

The core of integrity is knowing who you are. You include not only your higher aspirations, but also the shadows, weaknesses, and wounds within you. In fact, standing in the light of your Truth might actually create your shadow, the unconscious desires that you sometimes reject.

The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for, and it’s really a manifestation of his character. – Joseph Campbell.

Living in your full truth means acknowledging everything you are, not conforming to some image of who you ought to be. That’s the danger of solely being aspirational, trying to emulate Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela. By trying to be someone else, we no longer listen in and hear who we are. In the end, integrity is not about living up to your highest aspirations, but living into your hidden wholeness. Parker Palmer goes at length about it here. What would it mean for you to accept and live out everything that is you?

GROUP MEETING

When your group meets, describe who you are. Talk about your higher aspirations and how you want to change the world. Reveal your lower self, the needs, and fears and concerns that hold you back. Can you integrate that together into a full whole?

Give each person adequate time to reveal themselves. At the end, each person should do a 3 minute speech about their integrity: (1) the truth inside them and (2) the wholeness that accepts the light and shadow within them. After each person’s speech, the others ask honest, open-ended questions without offering their own opinions or trying to lead them to a conclusion. This allows the speaker to deepen their own understanding of their integrity without you influencing them. The speaker should take notes on the questions she/he receives, as it will be helpful for the assignment, below.

ASSIGNMENT

Your assignment is to publish a piece announcing your integrity, coming from the 3 minute speech you gave in your group session. Explain who your higher self is, how it manifests in your outer life, and where the gap has been (if any). Reveal the inner wholeness of you; your shadow and your light. The format of your piece is up to you and your creative self. Some ideas:

  • A written essay, like you’ve done for Prompts 1 and 2
  • A 3 minute video of you talking directly at the camera
  • A graphic or image
  • A art piece

Assignment workspaces