Your Personal Integrity, Relationships, and the Final Frontier...
When people think of integrity they think of being honest and true.
This is certainly one definition of integrity.
Here is a more basic definition:
“The quality or state of being whole or undivided: completeness.”
When you live life on this planet your integrity will be constantly challenged.
You will fudge. Tell a little white lie.
At times, you will wittingly or unwittingly suppress or inhibit some part of the truth in your relationships with others.
But no worries. You won’t be struck down by lightning when you do this.
It’s simply once you move away from being whole or complete, that part of you that has now gone rogue, sits right next you.
In the very moment you departed from your integrity, and I mean while in the act of departing, like a cell dividing, you knew.
You feel the division.
You are the divide.
It isn’t the lie.
It’s the subjective experience of feeling the division within yourself.
The lie or half-truth is like this spiritual Post-it note.
It’s a reminder.
It’s reminding you who and what you are and to not go too far astray.
You see, even though all of us strive to live with the truth, to be ethical, we will sometimes wander off the reservation.
When we alter the truth or do not say all, we know.
You will not be perfect.
Because your native state is integrity which is this wholeness, when you do or say something outside of your integrity you will feel it immediately.
Because you are less whole.
Like a Mama bear can sense her young cub is missing.
Your Integrity, Personal Relationships, and Your Protective Screens:
Your integrity is like those lighthouses on a I-can’t-see-anything foggy night at sea.
When you step away from the completeness of who you are, you feel it.
You find yourself a bit more out in the fog than you care to be.
But you know within you, you have this beacon.
That beacon is you.
And once you return to it, you feel relief.
Because your integrity is like that light.
It’s always on.
It always gives you clarity.
Your internal compass is your own soul.
When you break away from who and what you are, for a moment you lose your bearings.
That’s why when you are in a close relationship with another and you keep your screens up, you feel somehow divided.
You feel less whole or complete.
Like, why do I have my screens up in this personal relationship?
The fear that sits between you and another being when being completely whole and truly revelatory, is palpable.
But when you tell them the truth you feel at home.
And home is a place familiar to all of us.
It’s not a house or barbecue or wine coolers.
It’s the conversation.
It’s a place where you can be.
It’s a place where you are loved for who you are warts and all.
Home can be taking a long walk in the mountains.
Because in truth home is not a place outside of you.
It’s within you.
It’s why you know the feeling.
Integrity With Another:
The truth is integrity is one of those words that gets defined by your interaction with the world around you.
You can cheat on your diet and you will feel the divide.
Not earth shattering. But you are not really a happy camper after scarfing down those nacho cheese chips.
With extra sour cream.
But when you share your life with another or other beings, your integrity feels like it needs to be at its Sunday best.
Like when you were in 7th Grade and the principal of your school walked into your History class unexpectedly.
You sheepishly sat up a tad straighter.
And when you become really close friends with someone or you’re in a personal relationship, your integrity is now naked.
Really it is.
You are more vulnerable.
Why is this?
Because being true to yourself and this other being has meaning.
The meaning between you and nacho cheese chips is understood by anyone who has had an affair with nacho cheese chips.
But all kidding aside, there are moments you will share with someone close to you and if you cannot be whole with them and they with you, then the integrity or wholeness of your relationship will be defined by that.
If you feel like it’s near impossible to let down your protective screens, then I pose to you a familiar cue from the opening credits of Star Trek. I know. Not exactly where one finds wisdom in life, but hang in there with me.
In a personal relationship when there are no more shields or screens or walls you’ll truly have gone...
“...Where no man has gone before.”
That is the experience of being your true self with another.
When all of the “I could never tell him that” or “I could never tell her that” are gone, truly gone, you have reached the destination James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise were always seeking.
The Final Frontier.
And although the final frontier that is alluded to in Star Trek is depicted as something in interstellar space, what really is a “frontier?”
I think of Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett.
But that’s just my early-kid-aged Disney DNA still running through my crazy-adult-ass-bones.
But for my purpose here, look at this definition of frontier.
“The extreme limit of settled land beyond which lies wilderness.”
“...beyond which lies wilderness.”
Most of the couples I counsel and many relationships are “...settled land.”
You met and fell in love. Got married. Had kids.
You settled in.
Or you’re not married.
But possibly trying your best at navigating this relationship terrain.
But I’m here to tell you.
You don’t like settled, really.
Settle is like pouring some multicolored sand in a jar of water and watching it float and move downward and then watching the sand settle in.
Settle is at the bottom unmoving.
The exciting part was watching the colorful patterns and movements of the sand as it aesthetically moved through that water.
Settle is boring.
Sulu sitting at the helm of the Enterprise was boring.
Captain Kirk commanding, “Sulu, ahead Warp Factor 3" and the immediate white star explosion of the Enterprise going into warp drive, that was exciting.
The problem with most relationships is too much Sulu sitting at the helm.
You want to experience the wilderness of the other person's soul.
Tell me you don’t want to explore this with someone you love?
Your only hesitation is you have one hand on the warp drive and the other hand on the vulnerability drive.
You cannot explore the wilderness of another without letting go of the vulnerability drive.
Holding onto vulnerability is safe.
And really, safe is the sand at the bottom of the jar.
Once you realize the reason it’s called a frontier is the fact that it is unexplored.
And what if you do let down your screens and reveal all to another in this uncharted wilderness and they don’t blink?
And they don’t judge?
And they appreciate your courage in your personal self-reveal?
There is no better white star explosion than that.
You have shared the universe of another.
There is no command ringing out from Captain Kirk to put up your protective shields.
There’s no calling Scottie on the intercom and asking him how fast he can get those dilithium crystals cranked up to get the Enterprise “...the hell out of here.”
The wilderness of the soul of another needs no screens.
There is no need to retreat.
The final frontier is the integrity of who you are shared with another and they with you.
When you can love another with the wholeness of who you are and they with you, you have made it.
And don’t think for a minute that this is easy.
Many couples tell me they have a good relationship.
And I have found that when speaking with each person privately one on one, that “good” does not necessarily mean they’ve explored the final frontier.
Often even in the best relationships I have found there are still protective screens.
See, a wilderness literally or figuratively usually has something unknown.
Letting another into your own wilderness is often a tad frightening.
It should be.
That’s why it’s called a frontier.
But there doesn’t always have to be the boogie man under your bed.
The wilderness does not always have to have dangerous things lurking.
But your mind has cataloged your past experiences while exploring the wilderness and will make you feel otherwise.
That is why you keep your hand on the vulnerability drive.
Some ancient errant picture of a saber tooth tiger floating into your consciousness and jumping out of nowhere and taking your head off makes you pause.
Pause is settled.
Pause is red alert and protective shields up.
However, once you take your hand off the vulnerability drive and let your own screens down, you will know immediately there is nothing harmful in the wilderness of your own soul.
You know this.
The frightening part is no screens.
If you want to experience the adventure of a lifetime, the adventure of another soul, the adventure and experience of integrity with another being, then go where no man has gone before.
Go and explore where you have never gone before.
And if you have one single doubt about letting your screens down and experiencing a completely revelatory relationship, you my friend are at the “...extreme limit of settled land.”
You are about to enter the space “...beyond which lies wilderness.”
Will they blink?
Will they judge you?
Will they love you if you are completely whole with them?
Well, I’ve been to the final frontier.
And I’ve come back to tell you.
The wilderness of another’s soul is fucking fantastic.
Author. Consultant. International Speaker.