emotional integrity

Here is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of Integrity: The quality of being honest and fair; the state of being complete or whole; incorruptibility; soundness.

What, then, is Emotional Integrity? It’s knowing what you feel and why, and being able and willing to share it with others, even when it’s painful for you.

So general integrity involves being honest with others. Emotional Integrity involves being honest with yourself: facing uncomfortable or painful truths inside yourself so that they don’t harm the people you love. It’s more about your internal choices than your external ones. It’s the opposite of what we think of as denial. It’s the opposite of avoidance.

It is entirely possible to be a person of good integrity while also lacking Emotional Integrity. We human beings have a natural tendency to avoid difficult things, like painful feelings, conflict, problems, or our own weaknesses. It’s somewhat built into us to take the easier route. It’s not always clear to us that the easier route carries its own threat; a threat to our Emotional Integrity.

Example of Emotional Integrity:

Barry, a 35-year-old stock analyst, is a successful and reasonably happy guy. He loves his job, and he loves his wife Jeanette. Jeanette, however, has recently been talking more fervently about having a baby. Each time she has asked his feelings about it over the past year, Barry says, “Yes, I want to have a baby, but just not quite yet.” Or, “I’ll be ready soon. Just give me a little time.”

What Barry does not tell Jeanette is something he does not tell himself either. He is not exactly lying to her with his answers, because he wants to believe that he will be ready soon. But in giving her these vague, open-ended, affirmative answers, he is not being honest with Jeanette because he is not being honest with himself. The truth is painful, and he does not want to go there.

Barry’s Emotional Truth:

Barry was raised by a violent, alcoholic father and a narcissistic mother. Throughout his childhood he had little support, and witnessed a lot of ugly fighting between his parents. Growing up frightened and alone, he vowed at a young age to never bring a child into this world to suffer, as he was.

To read the rest of this post, see the complete article on the Childhood Emotional Neglect Page of psychcentral.com.