Life Coaching Tip: The “Integrity-Breach Trap” is devious because it intensifies the limiting beliefs that are already buried inside us and fuels our shame—creating a relentless cycle that’s hard to break out of because it is self-reinforcing. But, as sinister as this trap is, it is also incredibly common. It’s something I’ve helped countless women gain freedom from over the years. As always, awareness is the key, and change is absolutely possible!
If I’ve grabbed your interest, my friend, then please, continue reading . . .
Lauren enthusiastically told me about a job opportunity that a good friend shared with her. Her friend worked at a non-profit where Lauren had always imagined herself working—and the position seemed like a perfect fit!
Lauren told me she planned to fine-tune her resume that evening and compose a cover letter that would surely capture the hiring manager’s attention! She was full of great ideas and believed that with her friend as a reference, the position would be hers for the taking. Lauren was eager to get going!
But then . . .
Lauren called me the following week, and she sounded disappointed in herself and embarrassed. Despite her best intentions, she in fact, did not get to work on her resume and cover letter that night right after our meeting. Instead, she put it off for several days, procrastinating until the afternoon of the deadline.
“Then, I just had to throw something together to get it in,” Lauren told me. “I’m not proud of how I presented myself. I’m ashamed to tell my friend that I waited until the last minute and submitted a crappy resume and letter.”
“I have an awful feeling that I’m not going to get an interview.,” she said.
After doubling down on her commitment to stick with a tight budget and pay off her debt, Sandra was beaming with pride. She had followed the plan she’d established for herself for nearly ten months, and she was getting close to her goal and excited! Once her debt was paid off, she would be able to begin saving her money that would be used as start-up capital for the business she had been dreaming of creating for more than 15 years.
But then . . .
Sandra came to our next appointment looking forlorn and anxious—her eyes gazed down at the floor, avoiding contact with mine. Sandra confessed that she had gone on a frivolous spending-spree to “reward” herself for living on a strict budget for almost a year—and she racked up nearly $7K more in debt in just one week. It would likely take another ten months for Sandra to get out of this new debt hole she just dug for herself.
Ashley was thrilled to be in a new relationship with an awesome guy after going through a contentious divorce that left her feeling lost for almost three years. Ashley’s new fella was kind, compassionate, intelligent, supportive, and fun—qualities that her ex-husband sorely lacked.
But then . . .
The new couple came close to breaking it off. Ashley told me (for reasons she couldn’t explain) she frequently neglected to respond to her new guy’s text messages or return his calls—sometimes for hours or even a full day. She said she was often late for their dates, and recently found herself nitpicking and criticizing him to the point that it caused an intense argument.
“I don’t know what in the hell is wrong with me,” Ashley said. “I mean, I REALLY like him. We have great chemistry together, and he is so respectful and supportive. I wouldn’t blame him in the least if he decided to move on.”
What problem did Lauren, Sandra, and Ashley share?
They were all stuck in the “Integrity-Breach Trap”.
Although I’ve changed their names and stories a bit to protect their privacy, these examples are about real women, and they are more common than you might expect.
Committing a breach of integrity is one of the easiest ways a person’s primal brain can hold them back when they start to make strides forward and begin defying the limiting beliefs that are hidden deep in their subconscious mind.
The primal brain views any challenge of our core beliefs as “unsafe”—even when it’s in our best interest to make a shift.
Lauren was confronting the following subconscious limiting belief by applying for her dream job: I am unworthy of having a fulfilling career that I love. (I should just be grateful to have a job that pays well—even if it’s soul sucking and gives me debilitating anxiety.)
And Sandra was challenging this subconscious limiting belief by paying off her debt and starting a new business: I am too irresponsible to be financially fit. (And therefore, I am undeserving and incapable of being an entrepreneur.)
Finally, Ashley was fighting this subconscious limiting belief in her new relationship: I am not good enough, and I am unworthy of love. (I mean, something must be wrong with HIM if he loves and respects me like that!)
And so, Lauren, Sandra, and Ashley’s subconscious minds took them on the fastest route back to their comfort zone.
When they breached the integrity of their core values by breaking their agreements with themselves and others—via procrastinating, over-spending, arriving late, and criticizing—they stopped their forward progress and the flow of positive energy lickety-split!
And then this generated a host of shame that reinforced their long-held limiting beliefs they were working so hard to overcome!
Do you see why this trap can be so ingenious and sticky?
Fortunately, awareness helped these women gain new insights and break free from this destructive trap. I am happy to report they have all moved past their hidden barriers, and they are now kicking ass and slaying their goals!
Can you identify with any of this?
You will find integrity breaches in the subtle ways you lie to yourself in order to conceal feelings you don’t want to accept consciously.
Do you find yourself out of alignment with your core values at times?
What if your procrastinating, broken agreements, dishonesty, gossiping, criticizing, or arguing isn’t about what you think it’s about?
If this hits home for you, then know, you can escape from this insidious trap. And the process doesn’t have to be a painful struggle!
- Start with self-compassion. Despite what you may have been taught, trying to shame yourself into change will only backfire on you—and it will exacerbate the problem. Your human primal brain has been doing its best to protect you. But it’s well-intentioned, convoluted methods are not serving you—so creating some space for curiosity and investigation (not judgement) is key to setting you free.
- Ask yourself these questions—adapted from Gay Hendrick’s “The Big Leap” (a book I encourage you to read):
* Where do I feel out of integrity with myself and my values?
* What important feelings am I not letting into my awareness?
* Where in my life am I not telling the full truth?
* What do I need to say or do to feel complete and whole?
- Write the story of “Future You”—who is living in full alignment with herself and her values—and basking in the brilliance of her powerful badassery. Allowing your imagination to “go there” will begin to create a wider space of awareness in your subconscious mind to welcome in more success, abundance, and love.
- Read and visualize the story of “Future You” daily. Use your senses to feel your story—savor all the sights, sounds, scents, textures, tastes, emotions—in your body, heart, and soul.
- Set the intention to re-align your integrity with yourself and your values in the NOW. Begin with the very first step you’re being pulled to act on, and then move forward—one step at a time.
You’ve got this, my friend! xo
PS – Want to catch up with the rest of the articles in this series? You can find them here:
The Worry Trap: https://movingforwardcoaching.com/the-worry-trap/
The Busy Trap: https://movingforwardcoaching.com/the-busy-trap/
The Powerless Trap: https://movingforwardcoaching.com/the-powerless-trap/
The Martyr Trap: https://movingforwardcoaching.com/the-martyr-trap/
The Self-Gaslighting Trap: https://movingforwardcoaching.com/the-self-gaslighting-trap/