When Sally* came to see me, she was finding herself in quite the pickle jam. Her relationship with her husband was at such a level that she had jumped the fence and committed adultery. She said she felt horrible about what she had just done. She told me adultery felt yucky to her and that she never wanted to put herself in that situation again. She made it clear to me she needed my coaching assistance because she wanted to be able to live with herself again. Listening to her, I saw how Sally seemed like a decent person who wanted to live in integrity.
Through my talking with her, I found out her relationship with her life partner had been deteriorating for years. She said that when she wanted to talk to him about their relationship, he either got angry saying it was ‘all’ her fault or he went to the other extreme and blamed himself for ‘everything’. To cope with her couple’s volatility, she confessed she kept swinging between giving him the cold shoulder and trying to soothe him. Perhaps worst of all, the couple had very young children who kept witnessing their parents’ bickering.
Have you ever been in a situation where you went against your better judgment?
Wanting time to reflect upon her marriage, Sally told me she had decided to book a trip with some girlfriends, and it was apparently during that trip that Sally had sex with someone other than her life partner.
Can you imagine what it feels like to betray one’s heart?
Of her own accord, Sally acknowledged to me how that action reflected poorly on her better judgment. She affirmed it had never been her intent to betray her husband, her children, herself. In the eyes of many, she was apparently deemed a good person who read bedtime stories to her kids, gave them super big hugs, and baked them blueberry scones.
Taking a deep breath, she asked me, ‘How do I fix this mess?’ and this was why she was coming to see me, she wanted to live in integrity.
What does integrity mean to you?
Sally paused a moment and shrugging her shoulders while looking at me in the eye again, she simply answered, ‘I don’t know.’ I smiled and told her she had just showed integrity. Puzzled, she said, ‘I don’t understand. What is integrity?’
It is my belief,
Integrity is the personal choice to remain true to our beliefs,
to do the rightful thing no matter who or what is in front of us.
Asking Sally if she believed adultery can save a marriage, she adamantly answered no, which meant her committing adultery was non-integral with her beliefs.
Asking her if she believed bickering in front of children build happy families, she adamantly answered no, which meant her bickering in front of her kids was non-integral with her beliefs.
Asking her if she knew what integrity was, she honestly answered no, which meant her acknowledging her lack of knowing was integral with her beliefs.
Let me ask you…
Why do we ever lack integrity?
Why do we do things that go against our better judgment?
I believe the answer is, because we think it will be better.
Is it though? How was Sally’s going against her better judgment ever going to advance her goal of living in integrity?
Clearly, going against our better judgment does Not work.
With this in mind…
How do things become better?
I believe, things become better when we focus on
becoming self-aware of our feelings and emotions. ‘What am I feeling right now?’
becoming self-aware of our needs. “What do I need right now?”
becoming intentional. ‘What do I need to do right now that is aligned with what I’m feeling?
becoming accountable. ‘How can I hold myself accountable so I always do the rightful thing?’
I could certainly relate to Sally. Before I learned to self-manage my feelings and emotions through conscious intentionality and solid accountability, I often allowed my emotions to run the show, mostly against my better judgment.
Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who want to raise children with integrity:
Know thyself. Spend time by yourself figuring yourself out, specifically what you want and need beyond the influence of others. Make a ‘wish’ list if necessary that you will carry in your pocket and review several times a day. This will teach you to remain present with your wants and needs.
Honour all feelings and emotions. Allow yourself to safely feel what you need to feel. Our feelings and emotions are here to tell us when something feels right or wrong for us. At the same time, honour the feelings and emotions of others.
Manage your feelings and emotions effectively. Ask yourself, ‘What am I going to do right now about what I’m feeling?’ Ensure that your immediate action is always reflective/aligned with your core beliefs.
Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we ‘know’ what is rightful, we become more conscious of our words and actions when another person holds us accountable for how we behave.
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?
Before she came to see me, Sally had all the best intentions in the world to live in integrity, BUT she lacked a solid accountability system. This is why as soon as the next bickering opportunity with her husband came along, Sally often lost her cool and behaved in ways that were non-integral to her core beliefs system.
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they get to live their life in integrity. As for Sally’s children, what do you believe will happen to them when they see their mother acknowledge more and more the feelings and emotions of everyone around her, including her own? How do you believe they will respond as they watch their mother manage her self better while learning how to be more accountable for everything she says and does? Maybe, like her, they will continue walking their talk, which is what I believe integrity is all about.
For coaching inquiries, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,