By Kym B.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” – Bob Marley
When I was in my early teens, a friend dared me to take this fancy bubble-gum lip gloss from a local department store. With the build-up of fear, anxiety and adrenaline, I swiped the shiny pink tube, sneaked it into my pocket and quickly walked towards the store doors that connected to the mall. As I rapidly approached the exit, I realized my body did not follow my feet.
In fact, I began to move backwards – thanks to the tight grip on my arm, from the store security officer as he dragged me in the opposite direction. I was caught! And, was quietly escorted to the office in the back of the store, where I dreadfully awaited my parents' arrival.
Although we lived close to the store, the waiting time for my parents’ appearance seemed life-long. During this excruciating length of time – 15 minutes – several scenarios, of what I was going to say, came to mind.
I created several reasons of how I "allegedly" acquired this lip-gloss; from mysteriously fainting on top of the questioned item to discovering the tube in my pocket after it fell off the counter-top. The stories I imagined were endless – I was ready for the interrogation! During the questioning, my response shocked us all; myself included: I took full responsibility. My parents and the security officer were so surprised at my honesty that they let me go with a warning and chalked it up as teenage shenanigans.
It was in that moment that I found out that your character and integrity will cover you.
Adherence to moral and ethical practices does not mean you will never make mistakes. Believe me when I say that I am not a saint. For me, to have integrity is to have self-awareness; it is a conscious effort to improve your own faults while battling life events.
Integrity means doing the right thing – because it is the right thing to do!
I believe this skill is simply seeing the world as it truly is and not as you dream it to be.
Social media has skewed our view of reality and diminished the qualities of moral uprightness and decency. But, integrity places a demand on your character to be honest about situations and build from its reality.
It is up to a person to be honest with their own life and lifestyle. Anytime you do the opposite of what you feel, know and believe to be right – than you have committed a self-felony. The more we compromise, the easier it is to breach your truth.
However, on the flip-side, every time you are honest with yourself and others, it builds character that enforces integrity to show up. There is no happiness to be found if you live a lie or in fear. A commitment to live a life of integrity provides clarity and trust.
If you constantly require a passport, as a foreigner in your own body, then you are considered an illegal immigrant. And your endpoint and purpose is filled with prohibited behavior. The journey towards an accomplishment or decision is just as important as the destination itself.
Shakespeare wrote - To thine own self be true.
In other words – own your own shit and clean up your mess!
Kym B. is an International Policy Analyst and she owns a clothing design boutique with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter@AlwaysRich777
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