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Integrity! What does it mean?
by Judith Sherven, Ph.D. and James Sniechowski, Ph.D.

In simple terms, when someone has high integrity, we can trust that he or she will walk their talk. There is a consistency between what is in one's heart and what one says and does.

There's an old expression that says a person is either single-hearted or double-hearted. When they are double-hearted they cannot be trusted because they are hiding from you, and it's even worse when they are hiding from themselves, and still worse when they are not aware of what they are doing.

For intimacy to occur at all, integrity is essential. You must be willing and able to be present to another person, single-heartedly, willing to let them know who you really are.

That doesn't mean you always have to know who you are. You just have to let yourself be available as you are and see what happens.

Also, and this is very important, being in integrity doesn't just mean being nice and sweet. It also means stating your grievances and making your claims. There is also the dark side to every relationship and that is as much a part of it's integrity as anything else.

When you are committed to your own integrity, your own wholeness, and the integrity/well-being of your relationship, you must go wherever the relationship needs to take you. But you do so with conscious awareness which implies doing so with a sense of your impact on the one you love and a willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of your participation and what you evoke in the other person. Then integrity is a growing quality in your individual life and the life of your relationship.

Like everything else, the more you practice the better things get.

The New Intimacy

Copyright 2001 Judith Sherven, Ph.D. and James Sniechowski, Ph.D., all rights reserved.