Today I saw a Facebook ad that advertised how to “ethically hypnotize anyone you meet.” Irony prevails. Because this not ethical. Just isn’t.
Now, this case is pretty extreme. But what about the subtle cases where you simply can’t tell?
The ones where you question someone’s alignment with your values? Or what someone said feels slightly off, but you can’t put your finger on why?
What about the “money” coach who looks so shiny? How do you know if they are the one who has the clean and truly powerful relationship with money that can support you in getting to your next level… *or*, if they are just really confident (read: have done a good job convincing themselves of this)?
Covering yourself in pretty branding and glitter is easy. Being what you claim to be is not.
Oh, the glitter.
It could be the business partnership you’re about to enter. How do you know if the deal is truly the miracle your business has been hoping for? Or if it’s all too good to be true?
Before you spend your money, sign that contract, or invest your precious time anywhere –– how do you know the difference?
How do you figure out who’s who and what’s what when it’s hard to tell?
Here are 5 keys that will help you know for yourself where integrity lies, and what choices to make from there:
1. Get clear on what is NOT on purpose.
What most people don’t understand about manipulation, fear-based tactics, and unethical practices is that they’re rarely on purpose.
Sure, they can be. But the cases of the doctor who fakes a medical degree, or the pharmacy that fills your prescription with sugar pills are extremely rare compared to the cases where the harm is not intentional.
Even when it appears that manipulation is intentional, it’s most often based in a classic case of convincing oneself that what you’re doing is “good.”
We all want to be “good people.” When, in reality, the quest to “be good” is what’s leading to confusion, power struggles, despair –– individually, and for our society as a whole.
People are good at convincing themselves that what they’re doing is the right thing. We’ve all done it.
For most of us, it’s small things, like going back on an agreement because it no longer feels right, or realizing the cashier gave you and extra two dollars and walking away.
Most people who do unethical things believe they’re doing the right thing. The coach who isn’t very good at what he does is good at convincing himself he is. The salesman who neglects to tell you the hidden fees until the contract is signed is good at convincing himself that those other fees are “rare.”.
Being aware that unethical behavior is rarely intention will help you discern more clearly. It will help you spot the self-manipulation someone has to do to believe what they’re telling you. And it will give you compassion to see the situation with clear eyes and lovingly walk away before you buy into manipulation.
2. Question things. Question everything.
The conversation of integrity can get confusing. But when we honor how confusing it is, we will become masters of discernment.
It’s the people who don’t question, and who don’t ponder what’s underneath a question, that remain vulnerable to manipulation.
Questioning doesn’t mean negating. It means opening yourself to possibility that you can’t yet see. It means choosing to not know, so that you knowing can grow much stronger.
When you begin to question what’s what around ethics and integrity for yourself, you will develop a crystal clear discernment that cannot be found by taking someone else’s word.
3. Get clear on the kind of money relationship you wish to have.
The common denominator in unethical behavior is money. And power. But this kind of power, which is false power, is based mostly on money.
Because the market is trending toward social change, does not mean that the company or product promising social change is changing anything for the better.
Where there is a growing trend, there is also a growing trend of people praying off of that trend.
When you get clear on what money means to you, and how you wish to receive or spend it, it becomes easier to spot circumstances with questionable integrity.
Money is as much a construct we’ve made up, as it is a very real construct we live with every day. It is as much an energy or embodiment we choose for ourselves, as it is a game of numbers. Understanding this will change how you view what you’re being sold.
Marketing that contains hollow promises will be easy to identify. High priced items that are truly valuable will be easier to discern from high priced items that are inflated.
Ask yourself how you wish for your money to feel, as much as how you wish for your numbers to look. Ask yourself what you wish to spend it on, as much as what you wish to receive when you spend it. When you do this, what you spend your money on will change.
4. Allow subtlety to reign.
Questioning things will change your sense of what you believe. This is why it’s notoriously scary for people. This is why so many people appear to be “asleep.” It’s easier to allow ourselves to be convinced of something than it is to have to do the internal work of temporarily letting our world be rocked to change our perspective.
But you’re ready. And I promise that the rocking of your world that can happen from asking big questions is very temporary and incredibly worth it.
Questions operate in the same way all of life operates. They provide a perfectly crafted ratio of complexity to expansion.
Complexity helps us find what’s been buried underneath. We excavate what doesn’t belong, and what is revealed to us are new layers of truth. What comes through is more power to hold ourselves in what’s aligned for us. And in power, lies subtlety.
Power is a feeling. It is not knowing in order to truly know. It is a dynamic relationship between ourselves and the world around us. And it’s honed by the spidey senses that develop when questions unravel more truth.
Integrity is an ever-growing dance of subtlety. But you have to find the ability to sense subtlety first within yourself before you can find it in someone or something else.
5. Let the truth be simple, yet ever-changing.
As you sift through questions you’d been pretending you didn’t have, what will come through is more than clarity. Through the confusion, you will find clarity. And through clarity, you will find a truth that is simpler than what you knew before.
This is the nature of truth. Each truth has an opposing truth. Evaluating what’s true for you will first be confusing. But what you’ll find underneath and inside of it will be simple. This simplicity of truth is easy to grasp. And, when embodied, will provide you with simple discernment of what’s what and who’s who when it comes to integrity.
Your truth will change. New questions will arise. What you once believed will adjust itself. This is also the nature of truth. It is ever-expanding.
However, your truth expands in cooperation with the way the planet is changing and growing. This means that allowing your truth to expand and grow will give you more power to help the planet change and grow.
How are you questioning ethics and integrity these days? What are some of the questions you’re beginning to ponder? How do you know when something feels “off” for you? Let’s discuss in the comments below!