I have a problem. Lately I have been jealous of other people’s integrity, or rather, lack there of.
The other day, I, and another coworker were asked to stay late at work. Multiple people called off and there was stuff that needed to get done. I agreed to stay, albeit grudgingly, and frankly, with a bad attitude.
It was a bad day. It was no fun. I was frustrated and angry for most of it. And then the other person who agreed to stay late decided to leave.
This made me feel like a sucker. A chump. I was the a**hole who kept her word.
It wasn’t until I was calm and away from work that I got my head back on straight. My integrity is a gift. Having a relationship with my word is not an experience I endure, it is a blessing. It is a choice that makes my life amazing.
Look, the truth is, I should not have agreed to stay at work that day. I was people-pleasing. And I suffered because of it. Not to mention that I did not do my best work. But I had made a promise, I kept it, and even though it was unpleasant, I lived through it.
My word is not just about promises. When I got sober from sugar, I started making commitments about food and food boundaries. I renew those commitments every day. But more than being committed to what goes into my mouth, I am also committed to what comes out of my mouth. When I stopped eating compulsively, and I got a clear head, I stopped saying things lightly. I stopped speaking thoughtlessly.
In some ways, the kind of liar I was when I was in the food was sometimes malicious, but mostly careless. I just wasn’t connected to what I said. They were only words, I thought. So when I got food sober, I really started to take myself seriously. They were not “only words,” they were “My Word.”
It seemed to me at the time that my coworker was living an easier life because she was able to break her promise. But I already know what kind of life I lead when I feel entitled to break promises. And I would do well to remember that I was an unhappy person then. Not for a moment, but always. I didn’t like myself. Not for that day, but every day.
So a few hours of cranky resentment ended, and in the end, my word still means something.