The Way of Integrity: Exercises to Help You Find Your True Self

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Way of Integrity" by Martha Beck. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Does something in your life feel “off“? Are you living according to your inner truth or according to your culture’s expectations?

You may not be living in alignment with your true self. In The Way of Integrity, Martha Beck seeks to connect readers with their inner truths and lead them to a life of happiness, well-being, and spiritual growth.

We’ve put together a couple of practical exercises based on Beck’s ideas. See how these two The Way of Integrity exercises can help you become more true to yourself.

The Way of Integrity Exercises

Beck argues that each of us has a deep, personal nature that tells us who we want to be and how we want to live. However, we lose touch with this nature as we internalize messages from our culture that tell us to chase things we don’t really want.

Beck is a life coach and best-selling author. In her book, she draws her lessons from her own struggles and the lives of her clients. She discusses the root causes of chronic unhappiness, how to challenge your false beliefs, and why changing yourself can also change the world around you. She shows how the solution to chronic unhappiness is getting in touch with your deeper self to discover what you want the most and then changing the beliefs and behaviors that are holding you back.

Complete these two The Way of Integrity exercises to get a taste of the book and to get a deeper sense of who you really are.

Exercise: Reflect on Your Inner Desires

Beck argues that one of the three most important parts of living with integrity is spending your time doing what you actually want to do. In this exercise, you’ll have a chance to reflect on what you’d like to do most and how to make time for it.

  • Imagine a life of complete freedom without expectations from others. What would you spend your time doing if you could spend your time any way you wanted?
  • Now that you have identified some ways that you would like to spend your time, ask yourself: How much time in an average week do you spend doing these things?
  • Reflect on what’s keeping you from doing these things more often. What would it take to spend more time doing what you actually want to do?

Exercise: Discover and Challenge False Beliefs

Beck explains that often we fall out of alignment because we believe things about ourselves and our lives that are simply not true. In this exercise, you’ll have a chance to identify and challenge a belief that might be holding you back.

  • Beck argues that we can find our mind’s “forbidden zones” by looking at the topics that make us most anxious. Are there any topics that make you so anxious you avoid thinking about them? Explain what they are, and what about them makes you so anxious. 
  • Spend some time reflecting on why this topic makes you so anxious. Is there something you believe that is making you anxious? If so, write it down.
  • Now that you’ve identified the belief that is making you anxious, ask yourself: Can you be absolutely sure this is true? Explain why or why not.
The Way of Integrity: Exercises to Help You Find Your True Self

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Way of Integrity summary:

  • How to know if you're living in alignment with your true self
  • How messages from our culture tell us to chase things we don't really want
  • The four stages of realigning your life to find happiness

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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