Integrity vs. Conformity: Balancing Authenticity

May 21, 2024 | Previous Blogs | 0 comments

 “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings

In college, I took a poetry class. Several of the assignments were about explaining what the poems meant and what the poet was trying to say. The poets were all long dead, so isn’t it just interpretation since we can’t ask them? I wrote a paper, feeling pretty good about my analysis, and got it back with a C. The professor told me I was only partially right. I argued that the way I read it was different from his interpretation, but he argued back, telling me I was wrong. How did he know what the poet meant? Isn’t part of poetry interpreting, what you feel?

The professor offered me a chance to redo the paper. I struggled with this because I knew I could rewrite it to match what the professor wanted and get an A, or I could stick to my belief, take the C, and let it be. In the end, I caved and redid the paper to get a higher grade. To this day, I think about how I compromised my own interpretation for the sake of a better grade.

The Value of Authenticity and Integrity

This experience hit me hard with a lesson about authenticity and integrity. Life is full of situations where our beliefs and values are put to the test. It’s tempting to conform to others’ expectations to gain approval or success, but doing so can leave us feeling compromised and unfulfilled.

1. Stay True to Your Beliefs:

  • Trust your perspective. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Authenticity means being true to yourself, even when it means going against the grain.

2. Embrace Different Interpretations:

  • Understand that multiple interpretations can exist. Just like poetry, life is open to different perspectives. Embrace diverse thoughts while holding on to your core values.

3. Long-Term Fulfillment Over Short-Term Gains:

  • Think about the long-term impact of your choices. Compromising your values for a quick win might lead to regret. Make decisions that align with your core beliefs, even if they come with temporary setbacks.

4. Courage to Challenge Authority:

  • It takes guts to question authority and stick to your convictions. While it’s important to respect expertise, don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and engage in meaningful dialogue.

By staying true to your interpretations and values, you cultivate a sense of integrity and self-respect that outweighs any temporary gains from conforming. This lesson isn’t just about a college paper, it’s about how you approach life, staying authentic and confident.

In the end, I’m not saying I did the wrong thing by redoing the paper. But I can tell you I would make a different choice today. Sometimes, making a compromise might be the right choice, and other times, standing your ground is what’s needed. It’s all about balance and knowing what matters most to you.

So, the next time you find yourself at a crossroads, remember this, the most profound victories in life come from staying true to who you are. The world is full of people willing to tell you what to think, what to believe, and how to act. But only you can decide what resonates with your truth.

Choose authenticity over approval, and you’ll find a deeper, more lasting sense of fulfillment. Stand tall, trust your instincts, and never forget that your unique perspective is your greatest strength.

Remember, YOU GOT THIS!



Jasmine Rice is a Transformational Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, Best-selling author, and Founder of Good Things Are Gonna Come, LLC. With a passion for empowering others, she has dedicated her career to helping people transform their thought patterns, and thrive during life’s complex transitions. Through her integrated coaching business and supportive community, she equips individuals with the tools they need to transform their lives and take control after periods of transition.

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