Integrity Matters
March 15, 2006

Integrity requires emotional security

Question: (E-231)

Dear Jim:

These are stressful times. Even when I strive to live by your Eight Attributes of integrity - including exhibiting character, honesty, etc. - there are still incredible pressures. How can I make life more manageable?


Within individual limits, stress can be motivating and healthy. But there are seven questions you should answer about yourself regarding how you rate your own emotional security. Without a strong base of emotional security linked to your own emotional integrity, you might simply run in circles and spiral downward. Adding pressures of almost any kind, when one is already stretched to the limits, can be risky.

Dr. William Menninger, co-founder of the Menninger Clinic in 1920, offered this wisdom: "Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons, but one out of one."

He designed a personal inventory called the "Seven Signs of Emotional Security," which provide a sound definition for self-assessment of one's ability to understand and cope with pressures related to living a full life. How would you rate yourself in these seven areas?

  1. Ability to deal constructively with reality.
  2. Capacity to adapt to change.
  3. Few symptoms of tension and anxiety.
  4. Ability to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving.
  5. Capacity to consistently relate to others with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness.
  6. Ability to direct hostile energy into constructive outlets.
  7. Capacity to love.

Should you be uncomfortable with your answers, then you might consider speaking with a qualified professional who can provide assistance.

Emotionally secure individuals exhibit integrity (consistency and congruence) between and among how they feel, think and act.

Healthy individuals bring their values from family and home to workplace and social activities.
Seamless integration of their private and public lives causes others to be magnetically attracted to them, trust them and want to be associated with them.

Conversely, a disconnect with reality combined with an unhealthy resistance to natural change can compound tension and anxiety.

When self-centeredness pushes generosity and relationships into little more than operational transactions, then practically any conflict can catapult into destructive confrontation. Genuine loving relationships wither.
The stressed individual can experience isolation, bitterness or illness - and maybe all three.

Integrity demands congruence between values and actions, providing individuals with strength, stability and confidence.

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