One of the definitions of integrity is “the adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Kinda like the last part of that definition, honesty, the best. As the world is still trying to fully understand the lack of honesty of a global icon, Lance Armstrong, I believe it provides each and every one of us, living with or without a disability, the opportunity to really examine how honest we are with ourselves and others when it comes to our disability.
First of all are you one who knows what you should be doing, maybe even one who tells a lot of people, to live a healthier and more productive life with a disability, but constantly fails in execution? That is one of the biggest challenges many of my clients with disabilities have when it comes to managing their disability.
“Scott, I know what I have to do, but I just don’t get it done,” is like a broken record when people first approach me to be coached or were one of my audience members during a presentation. If they did not know what to do then they probably need some tips on actually what they need to do to improve the quality of their lives. However, in so many of these cases, as just noted, they know what to do, but just don’t get it done. Yet when people call them on it, the honesty is not there. Many people will make up stories to cover themselves and the lie continues. Yes, I said lie. I understand why we lie. I, like probably all of us at multiple times in our lives, have lied before, but I can honestly say that when it comes to my disability, I have no reason to lie anymore. It does not serve me and it does not serve the people, like yourselves, who I am trying to help.
Some of the popular lies these days include people telling me that they are going to go to the doctor for a check-up. Whether it is me, a family member, or even a friend, they will tell them that they are going to make that appointment…but check in with them in a few months and they still probably have not made that appointment yet. Then there are those with disabilities who will tell you that everything is going so well in their lives, but they are really miserable. Whether it be complications they are experiencing from their existing disability, socialization challenges, employment issues, relationship troubles, insurance issues, etc., their issues/challenges are real, but refuse to address them head-on, and keep telling lies to themselves and others. As a result, these issues don’t get any better. Conversely, they actually get worse.
Now by all means, I am not saying that our lies are of the magnitude of a Lance Armstrong’s, but we should view them as just as serious because if we don’t they will continue. I am talking about the small white lies that we maybe tell on ourselves on a daily basis in which your mind may be saying, “no big deal,” to the much bigger lies that may be affecting others as well as yourself. Just take a moment to examine where these lies may be residing and ask yourself how does it feel not to be free in this area of your life. For some it may be a minor disturbance while for others, their health may be complicated even more because of the stress that telling lies, or holding onto the truth which some of you may prefer to look at this as, can create over short and longer periods of time.
So, how do you begin to live a full life of integrity? Choose to do so starting today. You must discipline yourself in saying that I am going to be truthful across the board, in all areas of my life. Be prepared for this to be a challenge for those of you who may be lying so much in your life that you seriously believe in your own lies. This is serious, but not beyond repair. Ask others to catch you on lies you may be taking. Ask others to help hold you accountable to things you say you are going to do. Remember, being honest and telling lies are both habits. One is a great habit while the latter is a bad habit, but again, not beyond being corrected. It has been said that “the truth will set you free.” If you don’t believe that, just try it out, and experience for yourself, the liberating feeling that being truthful can create for yourself and others around you. Enjoy the journey!
Are you honest about your disability? Why or why not?