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Having integrity is about being who you say you're going to be. Being who you actually want to be. Following through.

But there's an additional aspect of integrity, which is being whole. As in, there is some consistency and unity within a person, such that they are the same person in every part of their life. Every part of them affects every other part and works together to create a whole, healthy person.

When we're wounded, it's very hard to be people of integrity. Some parts of us get louder to protect ourselves. Other parts get quieter to hide. We struggle to be who we want to be because we're scared.

As a person heals, they tend to heal one piece at a time. Each healed piece has to figure out how it fits with the other pieces, now that it's healing. How do the pieces fit together now? How can the other pieces adjust to accommodate this new experience? Do I still believe what I used to believe? Can I still be who I used to be?

Not only are our pieces reorienting, but so are we, as pieces of our communities. Sometimes people start to heal in my office, where they're safe and protected. But as that healing progresses, they have to take that healed self out of my office. They have to try on this new version of themselves in contexts that are not as safe as my office, like other relationships. With strangers and friends they are becoming a new person--who might at first look like an alien!

As we heal, our communities don't at first know what to do with us. Who are we even? As we step back out into the world with our healing begun, becoming re-integrated with our old people can be tumultuous. Some of our old people may not like who we're becoming. They may be disappointed with this new version. They may be angry that they can no longer use us the way they were before. But we will also gain some new people who love and enjoy us for exactly who we are—in fact, they may love us better than we were loved before.

Just keep in your mind that healing is slow and messy. With the goal of being eventually whole, every part of our selves and our community connections have to be re-evaluated to see how they fit with this healthier version of ourselves. And it's ok to make edits as you go.

Unsplash: Steve Johnson

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