I’ve become fascinated by the idea of spiritual integrity.
Now when I looked up the definition of integrity I found this: a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.
A personal choice. Just like the choices we make with our thoughts, feelings and actions. Interesting, eh?
Spiritual integrity is a similar concept. I was introduced to an example of this sort of integrity by the phenomenal Rikka Zimmerman, and I’ve been exploring her take on it ever since.
On a call, Rikka was talking to a person she was training to be a new coach. The new coach was having issues with the idea of integrity and honesty.
The client said it was very important for her to feel like she was always telling the truth no matter what. She didn’t want to lie to anyone, even if that meant saying something that might hurt them.
So Rikka gave this example from her own life. She talked about the difficult relationship she’d always had with her mother.
Her mother had five kids and hated children. Since Rikka’s dad died when she was young, her mother ended up raising her children alone. Her mother even said how much she wanted to kill them at times.
Now, before anyone freaks out at the notion of a mother hating her children, let me share Rikka’s philosophy.
Rikka and many Law of Attraction teachers believe that nothing that happens is a coincidence. That there is a reason for every thing that happens – good and bad.
The fact that Rikka’s mother had five children she hated doesn’t necessarily make her mother a bad person, (though I realize some of you may disagree) but we know their childhoods were probably not great.
It means that Rikka’s mother was exactly who she needed to be to make her children who they needed to be.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that it’s ever okay for anyone to mistreat or abuse someone else – especially not children.
What I’m saying is that Rikka’s difficult childhood prepared her to be the fantastic, giving and loving person she is today.
Many of the most successful people have suffered abuse and misery early in their lives.
For those who are coaches, leaders and teachers, this enables them to be more compassionate when helping someone else who is struggling. Someone else who has suffered.
While I would never condone someone making someone else suffer for any reason, I do believe that those who live through such situations often become very good and empathetic people as a result.
Now back to Rikka and her mother.
At a family gathering, Rikka’s mom was sitting off to the side, rubbing her head like she had a headache.
Rikka approached her, knowing that her nieces and nephews playing nearby was probably upsetting her mom.
So she sat beside her and said, “Mom, these kids are driving me crazy!”
Her mom looked at her with surprise. “They are?”
“Sometimes, Mom, I just want to kill them.”
Now did Rikka actually mean what she was saying? No. She loved her nieces and nephews. She saw their playing as an expression of joy.
But in that moment, she was connecting with her mom. She was letting her mom know that she understood. That Rikka forgave her mom for hating her own children.
Rikka was letting her mother know she forgave her for hating HER.
Because if you hate your own daughters and sons, how do you feel about yourself?
And at that moment, her mother completely changed. She told Rikka, “I thought I was the only one who had ever felt that way.”
Those of you who are parents: has there ever been a time when you kinda hated your kids? Even if only for a second?
Have they ever driven you up the wall so much that you just wanted to leave or lock yourself in a closet?
If not, that’s cool. But if you HAVE felt that way, that’s okay, too. There are some things that we face in life that are so difficult for us that we having trouble coping in the moment.
And since parenting is probably the hardest job there is, it’s understandable that these sorts of negative feelings might bubble up on occasion.
Parents of special needs kids in particular have to allow themselves to feel that way sometimes due to the pure stress of dealing with such children.
It doesn’t mean they ever act on it – just that they realize those feelings are normal under those circumstances.
As a former teacher who had a high number of special needs students I integrated into my classroom, I can attest that dealing with these kids can be extremely difficult.
So when you treat yourself and others with compassion in those circumstances, you are absolutely exhibiting integrity.
You are being true to your feelings or you are being what that other person you’re helping needs you to be.
This is especially true of those who are coaches. Coaches need to be able to make their clients feel completely safe when they are sharing their struggles. And if that means fully empathizing with them, that is still showing integrity.
I personally find the idea of spiritual integrity fascinating.
If you are able to exhibit spiritual integrity in all you do and in every relationship you have, your own sense of understanding and compassion increases exponentially.
Being authentic to who you really are may be less about facts and more about allowing your emotions to help you help someone else who is struggling in their life.
This is related to being an authentic person in general.
If you go through life people pleasing and worried about what everyone thinks of you, you’re less likely to be happy.
Because you’re more focused on what others think of you than what you think of yourself.
And the truth is you can’t control what other people think of you anyway.
You can be the most wonderful person in the world and still have someone say they don’t like you.
Life coach Brooke Castillo gives the example of a peach. You can be the most beautiful, juiciest, plumpest peach imaginable. But there will always be people who just don’t like peaches.
And that’s okay.
You’re your own person – your own peach.
So be a peach, understanding that some out there just don’t like peaches.
That’s not a judgment against you. It’s just that everyone has their preferences. The people who are your people will find you and like you. Especially if you’re being authentic and showing spiritual integrity.
What do you think of this concept? Do you agree that having this kind of integrity is just as important as being brutally honest sometimes?
Let’s discuss it in the comments.
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