“When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity—regardless of what others may do—you are destined for greatness.”—Napoleon Hill
Whenever life throws us unfamiliar changes, be it personal or professional, it can be easy to lose our sense of self and purpose. Without proper emotional healing, we can become out of touch with what truly makes us feel whole. And that leads us to indulge in all the wrong things—negative habits, stale routines, toxic relationships. When we lose sight of who we are, it becomes easier to give in to the temptations that only serve to further dissolve our sense of self.
This is where integrity comes into play. Integrity is our inner guidance; it is the quality of having strong personal principles that are followed at all times. It is a constant reminder of the kind of person we are, or who we want to be. Trust and honesty are central to integrity, as is consistency.
A person with integrity demonstrates sound moral and ethical values, and does the right thing regardless of who is around. To have integrity means that you are self-aware, accountable, responsible and truthful—and that your actions are internally consistent. In keeping these traits at the forefront of your life, you can develop your integrity with every decision and challenge you encounter.
Life is continuous change, and it can be a struggle to keep our heads above water. In having durable personal ideals and, thus, a familiar and secure self-image, we can better navigate unfamiliar terrain. The better we know who we are, what we want and what we deserve, the easier it becomes to create more meaningful relationships and embark on purposeful endeavors.
There has, no doubt, been a global meditation on what life is truly all about. It can be easy to feel cheated and betrayed by change—especially when it is unplanned—but the reality is that these shifts actually open up more opportunities for growth. We must first let go of the things that no longer serve us and our best interests, even if we are used to desperately clinging on. In moving forward, we must ask ourselves: How do we avoid squeezing ourselves back into a life we have outgrown?
As the pandemic has clarified to each of us the truly important things in life, we are all now at a crossroads. We can spend our lives looking behind us, trying to recapture what we’ve lost. Or, we can use these new perspectives to guide us into being the best version of ourselves.
In an age filled with the nonstop pressure to conform, we can often lose connection to truth and meaning. Best-selling author and Harvard-trained sociologist Martha Beck has written a masterpiece on how to embrace our authentic self for unlimited freedom. Her book “The Way of Integrity” is the perfect guide for anyone who wants greater happiness and clarity of purpose.
Now that society is slowly opening up again, Beck says this is the ideal time to stick to your guns and be clear with yourself about whom you enjoy spending time with and what you love doing:
“If you are being honest and you are yourself with people, then they connect with you truly. So be true to yourself. Let yourself be seen as quirky or odd. Then the relationships you create with people will be real and solid and indestructible.”
My personal take on integrity is that we must do the right thing even (or especially!) when no one is watching or judging. Integrity is the overarching value that encompasses honesty, accountability, fairness, trust and honor. It is about our daily actions, big and small. It is also about having the ability to recognize when our actions represent a conflict of interest, when our actions are hurtful to someone, and when we are breaking someone’s trust and confidence.
This simple line resonates very strongly with me: “It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it.” You may be very good at what you do for a living or you may be the best in your field, but if you treat people poorly, lie your way to the top, make selfish decisions, then you are not a person with integrity.
In unexpected circumstances, an electric air around us signifies the opportunity to create something fresh. We become surrounded by the potential for completely new ways of living. Yet without the proper mindset, these incredible opportunities are invisible.
Extraordinary photo session
In recalibrating the mindset I wanted to live my life by and cleaning out what I didn’t need anymore, I was able to reaffirm my passions. And I got to commemorate them in an extraordinary photo session with international award-winning fine arts photographer Abi Miguel. With I am Abi | Fine Art Photography, I was back in my world of costumes and makeup, and we even had real colorful birds of all sizes in our tropical jungle setup.
A photo shoot with her goes beyond just taking photos. It all starts with a client’s concept. Abi and her team view each client as unique individuals with distinct and specific needs, which results in a personal, customized photography experience. Abi and her team are comprised of highly experienced artists who all share the same passion and commitment to making the client’s dreams come true.
For a smooth photo shoot, customers have direct contact with Abi during her extensive preparations. Furthermore, online consultation is also conducted with the client to present various styling options, wardrobe creations, as well as hair and makeup recommendations to stay true to the client’s chosen concept.
There are various collections or packages to choose from depending on your needs and budget. Fine-art printing is also available on canvas, in frames or in hardbound photo books. The paper used and printing process ensure that clients receive world-class prints guaranteed to last for over 100 years.
I was my own “work of art,” and I was in my happy place! INQ