Why is it so hard to be honest with yourself? In this episode, Amy Killingsworth dives into integrity, the fourth pillar of the Rise To Reign framework. Integrity, in this sense, means telling the truth without manipulation in all situations. It’s about being whole and matching the outside with the inside. Learn how to embody integrity in your life and the importance of being honest with your own person, as well as the unhealthy ways you may have been handling your emotions. Gain insight on how you should face yourself in order to grow with emotional integrity.
Listen to the podcast here:
How You Can Handle Your Emotions With Integrity
This episode is all about integrity. You might think that you already know about integrity but for Rise to Reign purposes, integrity is something maybe different than you’ve thought of it before. It’s the outside matching the inside or living in the light of truth. Are you living in integrity? Let’s find out. God wants you healed so you can wholeheartedly live your purpose and love your life.
In this episode, we are talking about pillar number four, which is integrity. Integrity is a word that is thrown around a lot so you might already have a lot of ideas about what integrity is. We use it in a specific sense in the Rise to Reign process and framework. First, let’s define it. Integrity is defined as the quality or condition of being whole or undivided so completeness. Remember, we say that the outcome of Rise to Reign is being healed so you can wholeheartedly live your purpose and love your life. Integrity is key and critical for that.Feelings buried alive, never die. Burying feelings is not a solution. Click To Tweet
When I say integrity, it almost always triggers shame because we think of all the ways that we maybe haven’t had integrity in the past or that we might be out of integrity in our life. I don’t want you to do that. I’m just going to invite you to be curious and see how this can apply to your life and maybe how it can bring you more peace, completion, righteousness and joy. For Rise to Reign purposes, integrity means the inside is matching the outside or telling the truth without manipulation in all situations￼.
In order to talk about integrity, we have to talk about the way that we handle our feelings. I know that I come back to this in every single pillar because Rise to Reign is a framework at its heart. It’s a framework of emotional healing or life healing. The quality of our emotions is the quality of our life. How we feel is whether or not we’re happy and how we feel our emotional state determines the types of relationships that we attract, jobs that we get and clients that we get whether we get clients or we’re lonely. It’s important to be emotionally healthy, mature and intelligent.
Suppression and Repression
In order to have a conversation about integrity, we have to talk about the ways that we handle our feelings because we get out of integrity when we handle our feelings improperly or poorly. There are three ways that you handle your feelings. Those three ways are suppression, expression and escape. I’m going to go through them one by one and then I’m going to tie it all together in how to live in the light, truth and integrity. Suppression is the most common way that we push feelings down or we put them aside.
I talked about how when we feel shame, we want to project it off onto other people or other situations. We want to get it off of us. That happens through a process of blame. This is the most common. We don’t like bad feelings. We don’t like uncomfortable feelings. We don’t like to be uncomfortable. We try to get out of those feelings by getting away from them and it doesn’t work. There’s a subcategory of suppression, which is repression. Repression happens unconsciously when something is so bad or traumatic that your nervous system can’t deal with it and your nervous system files in a way you might even not have any memory of it.
This happens a lot to children because when children experience a trauma that they have no grid or way of processing, they file it away in their nervous system. It doesn’t go away but it is yanked out of the conscious and buried in the subconscious. The problem is that feelings buried alive never die. I want you to remember that. Burying feelings is not a solution. Suppression, however, happens consciously. We get in such a pattern, rhythm and habit of suppression that it seems to happen unconsciously but it is an actual choice to turn away from that feeling and either project it or stuff it down.
What I want to train you to do is to stay in the truth of that feeling without either projecting it off or stuffing it down and to feel it and let it move through you. Feelings will move through you. They don’t last forever. You feel them, acknowledge them and let them release. We don’t want to get them stuck in the toxic tank. We don’t want them stuck and hardwired into our nervous system because that’s where all kinds of unhealthy addictions and patterns develop.
Not only do you want to deal with the feelings as they’re coming in day in and day out, moment after moment or having a human experience or having all sorts of feelings during the day. We want to be able to deal with those in real-time. When something now triggers something from the past and that starts to come up, we want to see that as an opportunity to clear out some of the stuff that was suppressed or repressed when we didn’t know any better.
In order to do that, we need to become conscious of our triggers and we need to deal with our feelings differently than maybe we were trained to deal with them in our home or in a school setting. We need a better way and a different way. We need to teach our children a different way. Suppressed feelings and repressed feelings are causes of all kinds of irritability, depression and even physical symptoms and illness. Remember that thoughts and feelings are actual real things. They can be measured with scientific instruments. They’re real in your body. There are chemicals and frequencies involved in them. They create a physical reality in your body.
If you don’t believe me, my children love to jump out from behind the stairwell and scare me. I hate it and they love it. What happens is your heart starts beating fast and your stomach clenches. When you get a phone call and you get some bad news, you feel that dread pooling in your stomach or when you’re getting ready to give a presentation and you have butterflies in your stomach. That is because of the thoughts that you’re having and the feelings associated with them. That’s a normal interplay.
Over time, when you have these feelings festering and buried under the surface, they can cause some serious problems like tumors, autoimmune disease and heart disease. Feelings buried alive are at the root of many, maybe even most serious illnesses, certainly mental illness, depression, anxiety, ADHD, neurological disruption and Alzheimer’s. If it has to do with the thoughts and feelings in the mechanism of the central nervous system, it is affected.
We want to get good at doing our emotional hygiene through forgiveness extensively. In order to even do forgiveness, we have to be honest and truthful. The only way to build trust and have trust in our relationships is also to be truthful. We want to be the same in every situation. We want people around us to be able to know how we’re going to respond and react, not in a bad way. We want to be level and even. We want the inside to match the outside. Inside, we want to have righteousness, peace and joy and that’s what we want to manifest on the outside.The quality of our emotions is the quality of our life. Click To Tweet
We want to be that presence as the king or the queen who puts other people at ease and is able to hold their emotional state when everything around them is falling apart. That’s a true leader. In order to have that, you have to have a firm emotional foundation, you have to have the inside matching the outside, which means that you can’t solve an internal problem by external means. This goes back to projection. One of the things that I hear especially women, a lot is that they want to meet their counterpart, divine match or soulmate. They want it and they can’t think of anything else. They think they can’t be happy until they meet this person. What do they attract? Somebody who’s codependent, controlling or coming into a situation to complete them when they don’t need to be completed. They attract something completely different than what they want because of the emotional state that they’re in when they’re attracting and choosing a partner.
That’s an attempt to solve an emptiness, a sadness or a lack internally with an external means with a relationship. That relationship never ends up being fulfilling and certainly probably not working and maybe even abusive and toxic. We need to get our internal right instead of spending so much time focused on the external, what job we have, how much money we have, how we look and how our life appears. We want to spend our time, energy and effort cleaning up the inside and doing our emotional hygiene. The outside just takes care of itself.
Jesus said, “If the root is healthy, the tree will be healthy. If the root is corrupt or diseased so will be the tree.” We need to focus on the root, the internal reality of what’s going on. I’m not talking about spiritually bypassing. I’m talking about being at peace and not faking or pretending to be joyful or happy when you’re dying inside but to have the grace, righteousness, peace and joy so much so that you can give it away to others.
Suppression and repression are how we fill up the toxic tank. Suppression is denial. It’s the refusal to acknowledge a feeling. I talked extensively in two ￼episodes prior to this about forgiveness. That is the acknowledgment of a feeling and the decision to let it go and then to receive the higher heaven’s perspective on that issue with that person. Denial results in major emotional and maturational blocks and delays. Guilt, shame and fear deny our feeling’s presence and project it onto the people, the world and the situations around us.
We experience the feeling, not from our own perspective. We experience it as if it belonged to them or that institution or we project off on somebody else or something else. Denying a feeling and denying your true inner reality is the impetus for blame and the mind searches for justification to reinforce the projection. This is where bias and racism happens and it’s generational. This stuff can run in bloodlines. Let’s use Nazi Germany so as to avoid anything that’s super-hot and sensitive in our own culture. How did Hitler get good Christian, Lutheran German people to agree to turn in their Jewish neighbors for torture and extermination? He convinced them that the Jews were the source of their economic woes and problems. When that belief was conditioned into them then they were searching for justification to reinforce their projection. That’s how you can marginalize an entire people group.
This happens on the micro all the time but it also happens on the macro. What I deal with constantly in my own practice are women who think men are a certain way and they are deeply offended by men. “A man did that,” or, “That’s how men are.” It’s maybe how a man was but it’s not how an entire category of people are. When you don’t do your internal work and do the emotional hygiene of forgiveness so you can live in integrity, you can form these strongholds of belief that are absolutely poisonous and toxic. They poison relationships and they lead to all kinds of suffering in individual lives but as well in countries and globally.
With denial, we place blame on people, places, institutions, food, climatic conditions, astrological events, social conditions, fate, God, luck, devil, foreigners, president, ethnic groups, political rivals and anything outside of ourselves and outside of our control. If it’s inside of your control then you have responsibility. If you can get it outside of your realm of control then you’re not responsible and you don’t have to feel shame.
Most of the suffering in the human condition is caused by projection, wars, strife, civil disorder, hating the enemy, social breakdown, attacks, violence and aggression. Every form of destruction is caused by projection and blame. That is suppression and repression. That’s one way that we handle our feelings. The next one is escape. This is classic numbing behavior. It’s the avoidance of feelings through diversion or distraction. This is absolutely prevalent in our society. Alcohol, food, shopping, sex, exercise, workaholism, social media, entertainment, work and pornography, all of these things are ways to escape your internal state.
What I see so often that absolutely breaks my heart is people focusing on the addiction, trying to modify their behavior without clearing out the toxic tank that is the actual root of their behavior, their choices and the unbearable feelings that they’re trying to escape from with that addiction. It never ever works. Their lives end up becoming unmanageable and destroyed by their behavior because they’re focused on their behavior and not on the emotional roots.
Escape is socially condoned. If you don’t believe me, this is one of the things that personally I had to deal with in my life. Several years ago, when I was facing telling the truth and living in integrity where my marriage was concerned. My marriage was failing and my home environment was absolutely miserable. I was miserable and I didn’t want to face it because if I face it then I had to do something about it. What did I do? I drank wine just about every single night, not necessarily a lot. Some nights more than others. It would take the edge off of that so that I didn’t have to feel what was true.You can’t solve an internal problem by external means. Click To Tweet
This is socially condoned. How many times you go on social media and be like, “Mommy needs a glass of wine,” or you see other people like, “I deserve some wine.” They even have a wine called Mommy Juice. Instead of looking for something that’s going to numb us or help us escape from our feelings, being in integrity means telling the truth about what’s going on, facing it and dealing with it so that the inside can match the outside.
These escape and numbing mechanisms become addictions. It’s a progression and a spectrum. If you keep doing them, you’ll grow in dependence on them until you can’t do without them. Smartphones are a real scourge in our society because people are constantly programmed by the information pouring into them. They’re terrified to sit, be alone and face themselves. If I have 1.5 minutes stopped at a red light, what do I do? I pull out my smartphone or I’m always listening to a song or a podcast￼. I hope that this show is leading you to get away from escapism, begin to face yourself and deal with what is there and come into wholeness, completeness and integrity. Enormous amounts of energy are expended to keep down the pressure from suppressed and repressed emotions.
We have a progressive loss of awareness and regressive growth. I can’t tell you how many women that I talked to in their 40s and their 50s are like, “I’m numb. I can’t enjoy anything. I can’t feel anything.” You lose your spark and there’s nothing to look forward to. The things that used to give you pleasure don’t ￼anymore. You don’t have to be in your 40s or 50s. It’s a midlife crisis. It’s the timeframe where that’s common but it can happen in your twenties. It can happen whenever because you become aware that you can’t feel anything anymore. You have been suppressing and escaping your emotions for so long that you lose the skill of feeling and experiencing life.
What do you do when you go to a doctor and you say, “I have lost my interest in doing activities that used to give me pleasure?” What do they give you? They give you an antidepressant. It numbs your feelings further, reinforces the cycle and doesn’t solve any problems. It just creates a lot more problems. We are medicating away our humanity in this country. Instead of dealing with the problem of how we got where we are with our emotions, we are taking medication to further solidify that pattern. It’s also a loss of creative energy and authentic interest in others. This is sad, where we see the arts declining in our society and we see personal interaction in the community declining.
You can look at smartphones and you can look at technology. What’s behind it? What’s the thing behind the thing? What’s the root cause of that behavior? It’s escaping your feelings. It’s also the opposite of the truth. When we think about our concept of integrity, the opposite of truth is a lie. Those are easy to spot. It’s like, “The sky is green.” “No, it’s not. It’s blue.” For our purposes, the opposite of the truth, for integrity is concerned, is manipulation. This can be a lot more subtle because manipulation is how we get out of integrity.
We try to manipulate other people’s responses, thoughts, behaviors and opinions out of our own fear and it’s usually around rejection. Manipulation can be overt or covert. Overt manipulation is, “Do this or I will punish you.” Covert manipulation is the withholding of information or the telling of a half-truth. What does this have to do with how we deal with our feelings? Let me give you a scenario that plays out in millions of homes every single day in our relationships. The man does something that makes the woman mad. She gets angry and she clams up and is silent. He says, “What’s wrong?” “Nothing.” “Are you okay?” “I’m fine.” What has she done? First of all, she’s suppressing a feeling. Secondly, she’s manipulating. Silent treatment is manipulation.
When you find yourself trying to get a response out of somebody or you find yourself modifying their experience to avoid an unpleasant feeling, you’re out of integrity. Truth is the solution to that. Telling the truth and coming into integrity is the solution to that. The whole truth, nothing but the truth without manipulation. Ladies, that means when your man upsets you or when he does something that that causes a feeling that you do your emotional hygiene and you say, “What am I feeling? I’m feeling scared that he isn’t paying me attention. Maybe he’s not attracted to me anymore.”
You get curious and you face that. You have the conversation and you ask what you need. You can’t heal it if you don’t feel it. It happens internally first but then you bring that truth to relationships and this is how you build trust by being vulnerable. There’s a lot of talk about vulnerability being the antidote to shame. Thanks to the work of Brené Brown. Integrity is the antidote to manipulation. Truth is the antidote to manipulation. Vulnerability is made possible when you tell the truth about what you’re feeling. Not only to yourself and face it but also to the person with who you’re in a relationship.
The first step in the forgiveness framework is acknowledgment. “I feel scared. I feel angry, I feel resentful,” or whatever it is that you feel and then from that point, you are able to make some further progress. You can go back and review the forgiveness framework in the episode before this. I have a little tool that you can use, which is the truth test. The truth test is when you start thinking or speaking about consequences or limiters of the truth, you have crossed over into manipulation. This is what I mean by that. If I am the woman in the scenario that I painted earlier and I’m mad because he was late home from work. I clam up and I’m going around the house, a little sassy but he says, “Is everything okay?” “I’m fine.”
In this case, you are telling that you’re fine but you aren’t. Maybe you’re listening to a Rise to Reign show and you think, “That’s not true. I’m going to get honest with my feelings. What am I feeling? I’m feeling scared that he doesn’t want to be with me and he doesn’t want to come home. I want him to want to come home but he isn’t. I’m afraid that I’m not important to him.” You get honest with your feelings around this and you think, “I need to share this with him,” then you think, “￼But what if he rejects me? What if he doesn’t listen to me?” In that space right there, you’ve crossed over into manipulation.
When you start thinking or speaking about the consequences or limiters of the truth, you cross over into manipulation. I have a saying that I say all the time. I don’t remember where I heard it but it’s so profound. “Everything after the but is bull crap.” “I don’t want to serve on that committee but if I don’t then they’ll kick me off of that committee.” When you start thinking about the limiters or the consequences, you’re out of integrity. It’s like, “I don’t want to serve on that committee.” Period.
If somebody comes to your door and they’re like, “Can I borrow a cup of sugar?” In your mind, you think, “I only have a cup of sugar and I need that for myself but maybe they’ll think I’m selfish.” You’re out of integrity￼. I want you to see that when you have that first reaction, that’s the truth. That’s integrity and you need to put a period after it. No is a full sentence. When we get to boundaries, this piece is going to be important because you have to stop thinking about limiters or consequences and live in the truth in order to be emotionally intelligent and emotionally mature. Also, to get in touch with your feelings, acknowledge them and live in the light.
Excuses and justifications are also manipulations. When you find limiters or consequences of the truth, often they’re in the form of justification and excuses so keep an eye out for those. This is all going to get robust when we start talking about the categories because we get to apply them to actual real-life scenarios and categories of your life and see how they play out. For now, I’ve got some questions. You got the truth test, which is when you start thinking or speaking about consequences or limiters of the truth, you’ve crossed over into manipulation.
To activate those, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. First, I want to give you a challenge. When you’re talking to people, having conversations or interacting, pay attention to how many times you think or say the word but. Do a sentence diagram, if you remember those from elementary school where you say what was before the but and what was after the but. See if I’m not right. See if what is after the but isn’t an excuse, a justification or some type of limiter or consequence and therefore, a manipulation.
Three questions. What is true about this situation? How do I truly feel? What is needed based on these truths? In the situation where the husband came home late, that’s all that’s true. You don’t know where he was and you don’t know what he was doing. You certainly don’t know the mental and emotional process behind that situation. That’s usually where we go. His motives and his feelings or to the other party’s feelings and we decide what that is for them.
What is true? What is the basic trueness of the situation? How do you feel? Based on these truths, what is needed in the situation to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in every situation and help yourself become emotionally whole and emotionally complete? That’s our concept of integrity. It’s coming to a place where the inside matches the outside. I’m not boiling inside with a pasted smile on my face. As women, we are almost indoctrinated into this in our life. It’s like I’m smiling on the outside but inside, I’m raging or I’m sad but I have a big smile on my face because I can’t handle my feelings and nobody else can handle my realness.
We want the outside to match the inside. That doesn’t mean that we want you throwing a big fat raging fit. It means that we want you to have peace on the inside so that you can have peace on the outside and you can bring peace, stability, righteousness and joy into every situation. Integrity is the truth. It is the outside matching the inside. That is it for this episode. Remember, God wants you healed so you can wholeheartedly live your purpose and love your life. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next episode.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Rise to Reign community today:
Are you a Prisoner or a Queen? (or something in between)
The four archetypes help you distinguish between your true identity and how you might react in times of stress or out of unhealed wounds. Your identity is defined as: a) The condition of being a certain person and/or b) the characteristics by which a person is known. How do you see yourself? How do others see you? Who does God say you are? By understanding the prisoner, slave, princess (prince) and Queen (King), you can be intentional about choosing to show up as your true self and stepping away from patterns of dysfunction.
You were born to reign. But you have to know who you are first. In this free download, I explain the four Rise to Reign Archetypes (Prisoner, Slave, Princess & Queen). Self awareness creates the ability to shift in the direction of your wildest dreams instead of your worst fears.