Closing my integrity gap
I've just had my ass kicked by the universe.
Lucky for me, I saw it coming. Lucky too, it wasn’t as intense or painful to learn as some of my previous life lessons. It was a short sharp shunt off the wrong tracks and back into alignment with my true self. It's been a 40 year journey that is very near completion. In fact I wager by the time I’m done with this blog, I'll have completely closed an integrity gap that I have suffered with and also perpetuated for as long as I can remember.
Bear with me as I explain what an integrity gap is, how I came to have one and what I was able to do about it. And then we can check in to see if I feel complete resolution :-)
An integrity gap is simply a part of your life where you are falling short of an ideal that you hold in your core. A gap between what you value and how you behave. We all have them. But most of the time they are hidden snuggly away in our blind spot so we never have to see ‘em, although they are frequently visible to those who we are close to.
For me, I yearn to be the sort of person who is trustworthy and compassionate. I want to walk the talk, because I get upset by the double standards that I perceive in the world around me. They anger me. They feel deeply unfair and I feel helpless to change them.
I think one of the reasons I get so angry is because I know there are parallels in my own life. Neither as visible or extreme, granted - but there nonetheless. I'm a good person (well, now!). I am on an intentional path of personal growth. I am a good Mum. A loving, loyal, supportive partner. I'm an active citizen and a generous giver of my time and money. I wasn't born like this. In fact when I was six, I was fond of stealing money from the milk money jar. All my life I told white lies and some sooty black ones to make people feel better (including myself). I was a person who would have bought a cheap bottle of olive oil and poured it into an expensive one because I cared what people thought. I bought things cheaply (and we all know that you can do cheap OR ethical - coz there is no such thing as cheap AND ethical). This person is an older version of me. Her exoskeleton was shed in mid 2010s.
I gradually became my newer version, day after day choosing a path and practices that were more resonant with my true self than the projected ideals from the culture around me.
I shunned the worst of consumerism, I dropped religion (but kept the principles and values), I essentially reoriented my income activity in service of planet and people. I don't tell any colour of lie any more. I’m fiercely loyal to my family. So that's great, and I'm very proud of my progress. I came to understand that I had learned to be disingenuous to get things that I believed I could not have gotten any other way; I got a steady income at age 6, I was able to make myself and others feel good by telling fibs, and I got to have the experience of nice products in my home that I couldn't afford. For years I was ok with this self-deception. But was a tactic that kept me small. So over the years, I learned to shift it. And of course my life expanded accordingly. I can now afford the fancy olive oil :-)
Life's lessons come in waves. Just when I felt like I nailed it, BAM! I got a peek at my blindspot where another instance of self deception was festering. My new learning frontier was a key business relationship. I was serving Ms Not-Her-Real-Name’s business and clients (she both paid for and sub-contracted my services to her clients) but I wasn't feeling good about a key aspect of our working relationship. I had become largely dependent on this income so I was reluctant to push too hard to resolve it. It was amazing for me to see and then come to understand how easy it was for me to rationalise something that was not aligned with my personal integrity. ESPECIALLY when there is money attached to it. I witnessed first-hand how the the fear of losing income is a whole lot stronger than the drive to be the best I can be. I needed to have the courage to risk it all to be true to myself.
So I did. And it went badly. It resulted in the end of the working relationship. The final call between us was icky. It made me feel ashamed of what I had deceived myself about. I was a bit shocked. But what did I learn? Huge amounts of compassion for people who are grappling with integrity stuff, feeling trapped on a wonky path because they fear losing money, losing face, losing friends, disappointing others. And what did it do for myself to step away from that business relationship? It built huge amounts of self trust. Enough to patch up all the perforations that all those tiny white lies and the milk money and olive oil and bargain basement prices had pierced into my sense of self trust all those years.
So today, I felt like I became a compassionate and trustworthy person. I really earned it. I feel redeemed and free. I notice I’m not having to hold up and maintain my self-deception. It feels peaceful inside me.
Justification is a human super-power. It’s so easy for us to deceive ourselves, and make a situation that is not-ideal feel like the right thing to do. And in some ways, this may just be the biggest issue of our times. The world is filled with people with a strongly developed skill of self-justification and there is nothing in our dominant culture (aside from some religious laws) that helps people confront and resolve them. Where in this world and culture are we supported to look at these gaps?
That’s a bit of a trick question, because Genius You is absolutely playing this role for people. And I can personally vouch that it is a true path to freedom and happiness.
I am feeling nervous about money, sure. I'll have to bring on new client fairly soon. But I truly believe that the very act of resolving integrity-gaps is what can help people step into a magnificent income stream. Not income generation from selling plastic rubbish or importing cheap stuff from China as some of the most wealthiest men in NZ can lay claim. But a magnificent income stream, where lives are changed, hearts are expanded and I connect with and enable other wonderful humans who are on their own path to transformation.
It is hard to choose an extraordinary life, swimming upstream from the dominant culture. But I am reflecting that it made me fit and strong. And it gave me a chance to see that this is what a magnificent life consists of; A series of opportunities strung together that help deliver oneself to a greater sense of purpose and possibilities. That is, if we choose to engage.
And dear people, that engagement is very much optional. When we talk about Genius You being for bravehearts - this is what we mean. Swimming upstream. Doing the work. Making these insights one’s major intellectual occupation. But the gifts and depth of insight to be gained, and the happiness and ease that one can experience from being in profound alignment with yourself stems directly from this choice. It is a hard choice to opt to see icky old parts of self; ugly un-serving behaviors and small-minded thoughts that may make you feel temporarily ashamed, but so that you may gain understanding about the origins of these behaviours - where they are inherited from or who modelled it for you - to then move to choose a new path and new possibilities.
I’m laughing as I write this - I've got room for another client now! If you're ready to string together your hard life learnings into a string of pearls you can trade for a magnificent, loving life then call me. I have fresh-baked insights for you!
P.S.; For now, I feel completion around this stuff. Just in case you thought your Genius You practitioner was going to be perfect, that's not the case. Instead, we have the frameworks for confronting and working through whatever the learning edge is. And like an onion, there are layers and layers to our work. Whatever integrity gap I may have closed today I know that 10 years from now I'll be working on an even more nuanced form of it. Or something else that is blocking me. Everyone has blocks. But not everyone knows precisely how to recognise them and engage with them. That's what your Genius You practitioner can support you with, humbly and from their own hard earned experience. xxx
P.P.S.; You may be interested to know that I purposefully decided to go on a quest to discover all the parts of myself that were less than... well, y'know... magnificent. I chose this instead of an old pattern that I played out whereby I got chased around by a life-lesson, and it would follow me into my most intimate relationships, or it would disrupt some of my most ambitious life goals in order to be seen and handled by me. The hurt! The anguish! The lost efforts! I made a conscious choice to have a practice where I proactively look with an open heart at all my foibles and short-comings. There are some very unpleasant realisations, but I feel incredibly safe and confident that I have the framework to choose a new reality for myself. This is a level of control over my life that I couldn't have imagined was possible. Wanna give it a crack? Get in touch.