We have all heard the term “Walk the walk and talk the talk.” This is leading a life of integrity. But when people lack integrity they are inconsistent in their actions, values and principles. They don’t adhere to their moral convictions or their code of honor. They are incongruent with their thoughts, feelings and words.
How many times have we met people who lacked integrity? Friends who say they will always have your back, but when times get tough they walk away. Or people who disagree with you, who choose to publicly criticize you instead of approaching you? People who claim to have integrity, but don’t pay their debts. Or people who claim to have a faith, but unethically run a business or cheat on their taxes?
We live in a world in which people judge without a second thought, a community that feigns compassion, and a society comprised of people who make decisions based on “what’s in it for me?”
Does this sound cynical? If so, ask yourself these questions: “Do I say what I mean, mean what I say, and follow through with what I say I am going to do?”
“Do I practice what I preach?”
“Do I follow the same rules that I place on others?”
Just a few decades ago, promises and contracts were sealed by a simple handshake. Your word was all you had. Today, people break contracts without a second thought.
Your first thoughts might be, “Does this really matter? How does this affect us as a community or as a society.”
Think of this: If your word means nothing, then how can you be trusted? If you can’t be trusted how can you trust others?
Honesty and integrity are the foundations of trust. To trust you must be vulnerable. Vulnerability allows us to accept our imperfections and, therefore, accept the imperfections of others. If we don’t trust others, we show the world that we are unwilling to get close. Therefore, our relationships would become pretty shallow and superficial. And without relationships our world would be a very lonely place in which to reside.
To connect with others and have strong relationships, we must first examine ourselves, look at the characteristics we like to change, and embrace the positive attributes that we possess. If changes are to be made they must begin with each of us. We must be authentic and vulnerable. We must take risks and let go of fear. We must start with baby steps, moving forward just one day at a time, confident that we will stand up for what we believe in.
We must stop “talking the talk” and be determined to “walk the walk.” Then we can make positive steps to be the person we claim to be.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Kristina Welker is a doctor of psychology, a licensed therapist and member of the Ahwatukee Behavioral Health Network. Contact her at (480) 893-6767 or firstname.lastname@example.org.