Integrity and authenticity – rare virtues make their way in the new world
National Simplicity Day was recently celebrated on the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, who was born in 1817. Thoreau was a jack-of-all-trades — an author, an environmentalist, an abolitionist, a poet — but you probably remember him from your high school classes mainly as a transcendentalist. He and his contemporary transcendentalists advocated for living a simpler life to get in touch with one’s feelings. Now we are not telling you to abandon your life and go live in the woods for a few years, but we love the idea of evaluating our own lives and find out how simplicity, integrity and authenticity which are all interconnected can be incorporated in our lives and how they help us to grow as an individual. Thoreau said, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” Dr. Nalini Taneja, a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Career Counsellor discusses the importance of these uncommon virtues of simplicity, integrity and authenticity and how they help us to grow our relationships, personally and professionally.
Being present in our relationships
Dr. Taneja states that most of us are not transparent in our relationships because we are not being authentic with ourselves. We need to spend time with ourselves, our loved ones and nurture our relationships. Instead, we spend our time on social media at the dinner table. We need to show concern towards our loved ones by being fully present with them in that moment. We need to discuss things like what we look forward to with our spouses, our expectations, problems, initiate spending quality time together, making financial decisions together that will help us to enjoy satisfying relationships.
Authenticity – the foundation of integrity
Until and unless, we are not authentic with ourselves, we cannot practice integrity with ourselves and with others. Authenticity and integrity are interconnected and it’s about doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching us. We should focus on our work and not fall into the temptation of browsing the internet, spending time on social media or playing games of the computer just because the boss is in a meeting and nobody is watching us. These small acts of being authentic and practicing integrity goes a long way in shaping the collective consciousness. Authenticity stems from self awareness and our ethics and value systems. It is defined by our actions and choices and refusing to do unethical things that go against our core values.
The expert’s experience
Dr. Taneja said that a a client, a 6- year-old child used to have constant frictions with his mother. During counselling sessions, Dr. Taneja discovered that the mother was a perfectionist. She always wanted the child to be at his best behaviour, especially when relatives visited them and when others were not around, the child could behave the way he wanted. The parenting style was sending mixed signals to the child of how to just be himself and it was leading to the child becoming a rebel. Dr. Taneja stated that the mother was projecting herself and a part of her childhood experiences on her son. She was not being authentic with herself or with the child with regards to the value systems due to which the child was confused. After counselling sessions with the child and the parents, the issue was resolved.
Defining our core values
We need to define our core values and what we stand up for. Based on our core values, we should make conscious choices. The society is a mirror of who we are as an individual. If we can make the right choices with integrity within our own little world, then we are contributing to the larger good of the collective consciousness. We don’t have to self sacrifice or be a Mahatma Gandhi. We just need to be the best version of ourselves. When we feel something wrong is happening with us or with others or in the collective society, we should raise our voice, if we feel strongly about it. Dr. Nalini states that the basic cause of corruption in India is because people don’t have integrity. Only three percent of Indians pay their taxes. People complain that there are no proper civic amenities available to the public. The question of integrity here is did we all pay our taxes. When we as an individual, don’t have integrity at the basic level, we cannot contribute towards the collective consciousness. If a child sees that the father has refused to bribe a traffic policeman for breaking a signal and instead settles for an authentic e-challan, as per the procedure, the child will register it. It becomes a part of his system. If parents manipulate their way with others, children imbibe the same. People have been turning spiritual and introspecting their lives. This is a gradual process towards building a new world of authenticity and integrity.
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