Unless you are one of those people that enjoy offending or hurting others — living a life that is free of “little white lies” and/or exaggerations can be a struggle. It requires a great deal of courage — the ability to do that which is frightening or extremely uncomfortable. Living among emotionally charged humans with the intention to live in full on integrity can be gut-wrenching, however; it can be done. It may not be the easiest task (at least not in the beginning), but with consistent practice you can be a person clothed in integrity — the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

Righteousness (right standing) is synonymous with integrity and it is an absolute must for those who intend to live in integrity, free of drama, and have consistent success in any area of their lives. Without integrity failure is eminent; marriages, friendships, business partnerships and relationships of every sort will fold when the participants are do not engage in consistent and authentic integrity.

So, how do we as mere humans become courageous enough to live lives of integrity? There is that word again, courageous — the late Dr. Maya Angelou said, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues for without it you cannot consistently carry out the others — and so we know that courage is in the formula of integrity. Here are five steps that can be taken to get to a life of integrity:

1. Be more concerned with pleasing God, that people. People pleasers struggle with integrity because innately they want to be liked, loved and respected by the people they please.

2. Be honest with yourself. People who live in perpetual denial of their own lives and circumstances find it nearly impossible to be in integrity with others.

3. Be prepared to end relationships that REQUIRE you to be out of integrity. There are some people who want to hear lies and deception and simply will not accept your acts of integrity. These people are often bullies and abusers; toxic people.

4. Be as free with giving your love and you are in giving the truth — truth without love is brutality. You may have to extend a little extra love to those who are no accustomed to your new way, however, don’t ever apologize for operating in integrity.

5. BE COURAGEOUS! Remain in right standing, even when you fear the outcome.

When we operate out of integrity we force the people in our lives; to like, love and respect a person that we are not. By misrepresenting ourselves, we lie to others and we are often are left to nurse the wounds that are inflicted emotionally and mentally when we are exposed; because without a doubt the real self will show up. So, allow me to offer you this possibility; the people that matter the most, will like or love the people that we really are. And those that don’t like or love us, may at least respect us for being a people of strong integrity.

Human beings are much more accepting of imperfection than we openly admit. Without the stigmas and judgments attached to our flaws — which we foolishly create ourselves — we are more apt to accept one another than to reject each other. Nobody, I repeat, nobody likes to be the fool and when we act out integrity we remove the other person’s opportunity to engage with us in truth. You may be pleasantly surprised at what people can and will accept if we would just give them option to choose to be in integrity with us and not be fooled with lies and misrepresentations.

Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com