Hello and welcome back to the podcast. I am Amanda.
Amanda: And today we're going to be talking about self integrity. The relationship with ourselves is at the core of everything. So we want to talk about it a little bit more this time, specifically looking at integrity and the integrity that we have with ourselves.
Kendra: Great point, Amanda. And so I will start by actually defining what is integrity. When we talk about being integrous, we kind of talk about a state of being whole and undivided. In a way, we consider our thoughts and values align with who we are, not only on the inside, but what we show to the world. So, it is like being unified, unimpaired, sound in construction, like an airplane. So you have all the components on the inside you need to run efficiently and effectively and they match everything the way you perform on the outside. So Martha Beck's book, “The Way of Integrity” defines it as living in the complete alignment of body, mind, heart, and soul. You are honest, genuine, and you are the same person on the inside that you reflect on the outside. So it really does help to realign yourself. And she says it is actually the cure for unhappiness. When we discover who we are and the set of values that we have internally, and we can focus those into what we say and do and live and perform on the outside, then you are in alignment or that you are having balance and you can find yourself happy in any situation. If you claim to have the same set of values or beliefs, but they do not reflect what you do, the way you perform, the things that you say or how you act, then you lack self integrity and things aren't in alignment and they tend to go awry and you have constant conflict. It may look like conflict with those external things. But honestly, when you get down to the root of it, it's that you're in conflict with yourself. You're trying to say and do and act like things that you actually have the opposite value or belief.
Amanda: Yeah, it's just interesting to think about how, especially as physicians, we are so reliable. I don't think I've called in sick for a shift in 20 years. I've been sent home a couple of times because I was ill at work. But we are so reliable, like to patients and to coworkers. And the goal is to become just as reliable to ourselves. How many times would you make a lunch date with a friend and then continually not show up? But yet we do similar things to ourselves where we make promises to ourselves, but we break them over and over. Like when we say that we stand for something like honesty or something, but then we say white lies all the time. It might not seem like a big deal, but when we're not living in alignment and not doing what we say, then we lose credibility. Most importantly, with ourselves. We stop believing anything that we say that we're going to do. So if there's one thing that we can start doing is to start building self integrity. The more self integrity you have, the more you're going to do what you plan to do, the more you become unstoppable. Martha Beck says, I'm going to do a quote, “Most of us don't realize how subtly and pervasively we betray ourselves. How often we shrink to make others more comfortable. Self modify to fit in. Say things we don't really believe. Do things we don't really enjoy.” She also says, “this split from integrity is almost always unconscious. The people I know who experience it, aren't wicked. In fact, most of them are perfectly lovely. They strive to cooperate with every rule for living they've learned from their retrospective cultures and communities. Which is a terrific way to run your life. If you like to look and feel bad.”
Laura: Yeah. What does it mean? What does it mean to have self integrity and rebuild that relationship with yourself, if you don't already have it? So I found this really great article actually on a CrossFit website and we'll link it in the show notes. It was from CrossFit City. And they talked about strategies for rebuilding your self-Integrity. So the first thing you need to do, they say, is to define your values. You won't be able to live in alignment with your values, unless you know what your values are. If you have a value like you want to exercise your body for good health, and that is the value that you have, but you don't live it. How do we repair that integrity? We have to know what we want before we can get there. The second thing we need to do is be mindful of our thoughts, and we know that our thoughts really are the source of everything that happens in our lives just about. Everything that we're doing comes from feelings and thoughts that we have. So we have to be careful about our thoughts. If we're thinking unkind things about ourselves, and if we're being rude to ourselves or shaming ourselves for not being able to achieve our goals, it's not, that's not going to help us have integrity with ourselves. Likewise, if we keep saying, “oh, it's no big deal.” Or, “I said, I was going to do that.” “I said I was gonna go to the gym twice this week, but you know, it's no big deal. I’ll just start next week.” That's a big one. “I'm starting on Monday” or “I'm starting XYZ date” and then not doing it. That damages our credibility with ourselves. So we need to just be mindful of what we're thinking.
Amanda: I would say, like for people that habitually make new year's resolutions, knowing that it's not going to last. I'd rather you just not even do that or come up with a resolution that's so easy. I would rather you repair your relationship with yourself than set an extremely lofty goal that you know you probably aren't going to do. I would rather you set such a small goal that you're at least 80% sure that you're going to absolutely do it. And you can build from there, but repair this relationship with yourself.
Laura: Yeah. Corinne Crabtree is an amazing weight loss coach. She has a podcast and a program, “Losing 100 pounds with Corinne Crabtree.” But one of the things she tells people to do, and this is common in coaching is to, you know, you're going to plan what you're going to do. But she is specific and says, “Hey, your first job is to repair that relationship with yourself and improve your integrity with yourself.” So if you're going to make a food plan for yourself the next day, and you're wanting to eat a bunch of ice cream, you need to write that ice cream on your plan. If you're going to eat a half a gallon ice cream, you need to write it down. So that you have something realistic that you're going to do, and you're going to keep it, you know, keep your promise to yourself. Amanda was saying you want to have at least an 80% chance of you doing something before you're actually going to tell yourself you're going to do it. If you know that there is zero chance of you running 10 miles tomorrow, do not tell yourself you're going to get up at 5:00 AM and run 10 miles because you're harming yourself.
Amanda: Right. You're doing no good. And you're actually ruining your own relationship with yourself. Just please do us a favor and don't say that, just don't even say it.
Laura: We'll just use exercise as an example. If exercise is the thing that you want to implement as a habit you want to add to your life. And, you know, you have trouble committing to, and following through with a regular workout routine, you know, five minutes still does something. So put on your plan, tomorrow I am going to do 20 pushups. It does all start with our thoughts. So think some thoughts that are going to inspire you to do it. Like not, I'm going to run ten miles because I'm so fat. I'm lazy. I'm going to exercise my body because I love my body and I want to take care of it and I want to feel good. That is why I'm doing it.
Amanda: Yeah. I was going to say the goals that you set for yourself, do it out of love for yourself. Not as a comparison to somebody else or somebody else's expectations for you. I find that if it's not coming out of love for yourself, that makes it so much harder to honor yourself.
Laura: 100%. So when you say you're gonna do something, do it. Don't make promises to yourself. You wouldn't make a lunch date with a friend and then just not show up week after week after week. We do that to ourselves all the time. We don't need to do that. We wouldn't make a promise to our kids and then not do it over and over and over again. We need to give our own selves, our most important relationship, we need to treat ourselves like everything else. All of our other good relationships are going to spring forth from the way we treat ourselves. So we need to, we need to treat ourselves well. They say, we need to commit fully and be satisfied with effort, regardless of the outcome. Our focus is on effort. Our focus is on doing what we said we were going to do. Let the chips fall where they may most likely. If we're doing good things, we will have some good outcomes. But even, you know, if you do a bunch of weightlifting, you may gain some water weight. That's part of it. So we need to be aware of that and just let that go and appreciate it as part of the process.
Amanda: Well, because if you're doing it to get stronger, you're not worried about things like numbers. You're doing it for you, not to appeal to somebody else or not to fit in some sort of mold that you were never supposed to be in, in the first place.
Kendra: I also think it's important to set yourself up for small wins. When you commit to something, just like Lauren and Amanda said, give yourself a greater than 80% chance of it actually happening and sticking to your plan. And like you said, even if it's five minutes tomorrow and then eight minutes the next day, or whatever, small wins actually reconfirm and also give you a little bit of a reward, which also, gives you a little dopamine hit, all the things that are good and make you feel good. But make it small wins. Lots of small wins, equal long-term victory.
Amanda: Absolutely. Yeah. I can't tell you how many times I've been, like, I'm going to work out for an hour every day for five days, going from zero to 1000. It's the same thing too. When I make a schedule for myself for the day, for the next day. Because the whole thing with coaching, the more you use your prefrontal cortex, the more you plan for yourselves. That's coming from the best part of your brain. But the problem is you have to have compassion for the person that actually has to do the plan. You're going to wake up tomorrow and be the person that actually has to eat the things, who has to exercise the things, who has to follow the schedule. So be graceful with yourself. Do not make a plan that's miserable. The “you” tomorrow that's having to do what you thought up today has to be able to actually complete it.
Laura: Yeah. And it has to not be miserable. Our human brains want to avoid that. So let's be kind to ourselves. Also, cheer ourselves on! It needs to be a big party after you say you put on your plan that you're gonna work out for 10 minutes. You've not worked out at all in months and you put down you're going to do 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes, just in your brain tell yourself lots of times. “Hey, great job. Great job showing up for yourself. Great job doing what you said you were going to do. Great job taking care of your body.” When we do that, it will wire us to seek that out more. We'll seek out that reward from just cheering ourselves on.
Amanda: Well, do you know why it's so important because usually when we're trying to make changes to benefit our growth, those are hard, those are harder. And so there's gotta be a little bit of a dopamine hit to continue that and make it become a habit. Because not, you know, eating what you say that you're going to do. What I mean, think about it. What do you do? You're usually like sneaking something that gives you a nice dopamine hit, right? So you're getting reinforcement to do the negative habit. So that's why it's so important to give yourself the positive reinforcement to do the habit that you actually want to do.
Laura: Yes. So another example might be when you leave your shift with your charts done, like super celebrate that! That's, that's huge! Especially these days with overcrowded and understaffed ED’s. Getting to leave on time with your charts done deserves some celebration. Definitely do that. I think that this relationship with ourselves, this having integrity with ourselves is probably one of the most important. This was one of the concepts that blew my mind. As I entered the coaching world, I was just blown away. I'd never even really thought that I had a relationship with myself. I thought I just was myself. But knowing that, you know, that I am either showing up for myself or not showing up for myself. It's just changed me. And hopefully it will help some of our listeners as well. I also love that exercise thinking about my past and future self and thinking about what my past self did to set me up for where I am now and thanking myself, thanking that person who did all the things she needed to do to get me to where I am now. And then thinking about my future self and what my future self is going to say to me now for what I did to get me to her. It's kind of deep thinking.
Amanda: Well, no, but it works for people who, I mean the vast majority of people who would never let somebody else down, but they let themselves down all the time. So thinking about yourself as the future version of yourself, you don't want to let her down, you can use it to your advantage. Like, if I can't make myself do the right decision at this time, because I'm starting this new habit or new practice, just imagining the future version of me and not wanting to let her down does help me as a kind of mind hack.
Laura: Yeah, it really does. And you can be compassionate to yourself now, if they're real, you know, if there's real reasons why things aren't the way you want them to be. But having that compassion on the future self and having compassion on your past self too. Like if you're in a place right now that you don't want to be, because of things past self did, having compassion on her is also very helpful to help move through that.
Amanda: Yeah, almost certainly. She was doing the best she could.
Laura: We all generally are. And having now that we all have this knowledge of self integrity and how important it is to show up for ourselves, we can all do better.
Kendra: That's good stuff. I know that once we kind of become aware of how important that is and that it's at the foundation of that relationship with ourselves, it can make you just realize, “Okay, I'm going to step up. I am going to do this.” Once you make the decision for yourself, honestly, you’re a better self for all those around you. So this has been an amazing talk. I'm super encouraged by how this message will get out and how it will impact so many of us that need to take a step back and analyze how integrous we are with ourselves. So thank you for listening today. We know how amazing and brilliant you are! So, until next time, you are whole, you are a gift to medicine and the work you do matters.