You know those former friends? When you see them, it feels awkward. You used to be close, but now you don’t hardly speak. You both know what happened- trust is gone. Really, trust is all that we have in relationships. When that breaks down, things are headed for trouble.
The million dollar question: How do you build a solid foundation of trust in all your relationships, so that you can reap the full reward of your relational wealth?
Honesty and Integrity
These are some old fashioned words, but they are like gold in your relationships.
Sadly, honesty is a value that is becoming more rare. Our human nature takes over and whatever our agenda, whatever we are after, becomes more important than our word. Being a man or woman of your word is critically important. If you have lied to get ahead, make a sale, cover up for something that you knew you shouldn’t have done, then honesty is lacking in your life. The scary part is that you are most likely not even honest with yourself. In the dating world, honesty is very rare, because people are trying to present themselves as more or better or different than they are in reality. And like a beacon of light in a dark place, if you practice honesty, this quality alone is extremely attractive.
Here’s how to exercise your honesty muscle. Begin by keeping your word with yourself. Don’t make huge promises you know you can’t keep like lose 50 lbs. in a month. Start with little things and make a pact with yourself that if you promise to yourself you will do something, then you will absolutely, no excuses, get it done. I was jogging a couple miles one day and practiced this exercise. I told myself I will keep running until I reached that stop sign up ahead. If I started walking before then, I would have broken my word with myself.
Now expand this concept to others and make an agreement with yourself that you will begin telling the truth in EVERY situation. We all get that little twinge of temptation to lie, embellish, or stretch the truth to make ourselves look better. In fact, we are so good at doing this, we don’t even realize that we have lost our honesty. When you feel you were about to lie about something, just say, “I was going to make something up to impress you and thought about saying, XYZ, but the truth is, I…” and then express your true feelings. That is critical! Even that level of base honesty, admitting that you were even thinking about lying will be received well. Everyone appreciates an honest person. It’s incredibly attractive. The irony is that you were trying to impress someone by telling the lie, which they will question and which builds the relationship on a false foundation, but in reality telling the truth it is 10 times more attractive.
"Integrity is it's own reward"- Dr. Glover
Integrity goes hand in hand with honesty. It is often misunderstood as a list of rules that you do this and don’t do this, ie. “I don’t smoke, I don’t chew, or go with girls who do.” But true integrity means oneness or wholeness. It means that you are who you say you are. That there is congruence between what you do and what you say, thus the importance of honesty. It’s not so much about the values that you have chosen, but the degree to which you keep them and it rings true to those who are around you. People can smell integrity. The motives and agendas you have come out of your pores in an aura-like feel and this aura must line up with your body language, eye contact, what you say, and what you do.
I was just recently at Chipotle and ordered extra guacamole. The cashier didn’t notice and was about to give my final total when I interrupted and asked if he counted the extra guacamole. That’s honesty. When you get a water cup at a restaurant, do you get water, or do you trade in your integrity for a measly $2 and fill your water cup with soda? Honesty and Integrity start with the small things and then build to the big things. These small examples are also about integrity. If I am teaching about honesty and integrity, then I need to live or embody my message.
I love the quote above by Dr. Glover (author of No More Mr. Nice Guy). In life, there’s no extra credit or stars next to your name for having honesty and integrity. But the truth is, it’s the best way to live your life. Thus, Integrity is it’s own reward- many rewards actually. If people see you compromise on the small things, they can count on the fact that you will do the same on the big things. Then you will lose their trust. And trust is all you have in relationships.
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Joel is a husband, father, musician, and lover of life; especially life that is shared with the wealth of amazing friends and family he is blessed to have near.