By Gwendlyn Esco Davis
Integrity of others, and ourselves, results in building and sustaining authentic relationships. Hence, when we assess past relationships — absent of integrity — we uncover fragments of broken relationships and broken promises; it’s when we tried to jump into effective relationships without the maturity or the strength of character to maintain them.
We simply have to travel along the pathway of life lessons. We can’t be successful with other people if we haven’t paid the price of success with ourselves. We can’t benefit from the beautiful shade trees lining the pathway without the tree roots.
The place to begin building any relationship is inside of us — our own character. As we become independent, proactive, centered in correct principles, value driven and able to organize and execute around the priorities in our life with integrity, we can then choose to become interdependent.
When we are not present with ourselves and instead listen to others telling us who we are or what we should be, this will eventually cause conflict with the inner-self. The end result will cause in almost all relationships, difficulties that are rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around our roles and life goals.
We also, create many negative situations by simply assuming that our expectations are self-evident and that they are clearly understood and shared by others. The missed benefits of not knowing self, is that when expectations are not clear and shared, people begin to become emotionally involved and simple misunderstandings become compounded, turning into personality clashes and communication breakdowns.
Once you have built character with yourself, only then can you become capable of building rich, enduring, highly productive relationships with others.
One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present. When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.
Integrity is an interdependent reality; you treat everyone by the same set of principles. As you do, people will come to trust you, although they may not at first appreciate the honest confrontational experiences such integrity might generate.
In building strong relationships through integrity, people will trust and respect you if you are honest and open and kind with them. You care enough to confront and to be trusted. In the long-run, I am convinced that the benefits of integrity are to be trusted and also to be loved.
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