Thursday, 3 December 2015

Living with Integrity

Northern Cape RSA
What is it to live with integrity? I have lived through many interpretations of this, and it is not set in stone. However, I have always held that my business dealings occur with absolute integrity. In my mind, and heart, this means being honest about a patient’s condition, the prognosis, and expected outcome of any treatments. I have delivered veterinary services in this manner from the day I started working.

One of my good friends commented that if you don’t lie, there is less to remember! Apart from always telling the truth about a diagnosis there is also the aspect of always doing one’s best. To me, this is also part of living with integrity. If I do everything within my power and abilities (and abilities change) to save the animal or minimise suffering, then I have acted according to my own code and done the best that I can.

By working within these boundaries (set by me) I am able to sleep at night. Has this acceptance come easily? No. Were there things I would have done differently had a client given me permission? Absolutely. But in that moment I have always done what I believe to be right for the patient AND with the best of intention. So, within my professional life, I live with integrity.
Northern Cape

Most recently, I have had to question whether I live with integrity in my personal life. I have always believed this to be so but towards the end of 2014 I faced a challenge. Within one of my close relationships I was forced to admit that I was not being honest – with myself. What a shock admission! I had hidden my dissatisfaction with certain aspects of my life so well that I did not even recognise it. Talk about denial! I had glossed over unease with platitudes. I believed that this particular (non)event was truly not important.

When I was diagnosed with ‘burn out’ I had to do much soul-searching to find what was responsible for my emotional distress. I eventually uncovered this “lie”. I was forced to accept the truth. The hard work followed; admission of guilt, labelling the problem and finally beginning to heal the hurt. Was I living this relationship with integrity? No. Is it improving now that I have owned the feelings? Absolutely!
Northern Cape

What have I learnt? To be able to function well and relatively stress free, to reach an optimum level, we have to be honest about that which makes us unhappy. I am not advocating that all others in your life are stomped on in order for you to express yourself and be free. Respect must be upheld. I am saying that we must be utterly honest, first with ourselves, before we can move into a living a life of integrity. As another friend said, “Living with integrity means doing the right thing.” Yes, for ourselves, too.