Updated: Oct 28, 2022
A concept that is thrown out quite a bit that is not given a lot of discussion is integrity. We often associate the definition of integrity with honesty, which I believe can be a component, but does not fully describe the essence of integrity. I have found integrity to be the authenticity in which we approach situations and the verbiage that we use to speak. This alignment in between our behaviors and speech carry the weight of determining how closely we adhere to our truth. To put it bluntly: we do what we preach, and vice versa.
I believe that if we have a high level of self-awareness then we have an easier time being consistent and presenting with a high level of integrity.
Part of practicing what I preach is that I am accountable for my own mental health. I believe that as a mental health provider I am obligated to do my own work and to tend to my own levels of self-care. Self-care is part of my well-being. I will admit that I am a therapist that struggles with self-care and is not always mindful of my wellness. It still catches up to me and reminds me that I have to prioritize myself before I can be present for others, in my profession and in my own life. A factor of the balance in which I can be authentic and accountable in prioritizing myself is being intentional to take time off. To travel and experience new things. To stay home and complete chores for the week. To practice discipline and check off daily tasks that are boring or that I have been procrastinating.
I believe it is important to be accountable for all aspects of your life to achieve integrity.
I sometimes have to give myself grace when I am unable to meet expectations or goals for whatever barriers or challenges have gotten in the way. I recognize I am not always able to go hiking with Addy and Wyatt, sometimes a walk around our neighborhood will have to do. I am not always able to travel for vacation, a stay-cation is what is needed. And I am not always able to keep my house clean, or I say a hurtful thing to Ben unintentionally, or I make a mistake with a client. I can accept that I am human. I can hold myself accountable to my imperfection and not let my shortcomings become overwhelming.
I wish you the freedom of authenticity. I hope you can find integrity and practice the balance you need.