Toilet paper taught me integrity.
I can’t go into a bathroom now without feeling the impulse to replace the roll if it’s used up.
Even if it’s not my own bathroom.
I know where the impulse comes from and I laugh to myself how well the synapse is embedded at this point. Or whatever synapses do. Do they embed?
Well, I remember when the synapse did its thing, it was about five years ago, give or take. And it still compels me to this day. Toilet paper taught me about integrity.
Our integrity is really important. When we give our word to something, we basically back ourselves to do or say or come through on something. Our integrity is what drives our lives, it’s what gives them meaning and motivation and bonds us to the lives of other people, as we honor our word and commitments to other people.
So, what is your word currently worth?
A good way to figure it out is to assess how your life is going. Run through the checklist of the ways you move through your day, how you form and fulfill habits and behaviors. What things to commit to and what falls by the wayside.
It’s pretty common that folks here in the West (let’s say America because I’ve only ever lived here) have a complicated or distant relationship to their Word. We struggle with integrity to ourselves, first and foremost. We have a hard time loving ourselves enough to do what we need to do to get and stay healthy and thrive. It’s why the industry of self-care has skyrocketed over the past several years — there’s lots of money to be made in the field of self-love!
And some people will do that with integrity and some won’t. Some will want to cash in on it and some will try to help from a real, true place.
And that’s where that impulse comes from with me and the toilet paper.
Years ago, I immersed myself in the Landmark Education experience. For about a year or so, I took some of their courses and actually participated in one of their higher-level training experiences as a Course Supervisor. This is fancy language for: I paid for a personal development course and then volunteered in one of their training programs for several months.
Basically I did work for free to get whatever I was supposed to get from it. And I got plenty.
I got the ability to see something that needed to be done and do it. To take action. Or at least KNOW I wasn’t doing something from my own free will.
I got what Landmark calls, “related to my Word”. I developed a new relationship to my own word and my own integrity. I became AWARE of it. And now I can’t turn it off. And it’s awesome!
Because now my word means something. When I say I am going to do or not do something, I mean it. And I don’t mean that I will always DO IT, but I mean what I say and I say what I mean. Confused? Here’s an example. When I told my friend I would come over, I meant it. I didn’t say yes to please him or because I felt guilty. I said yes because I meant yes. But then I had to make a new decision to work and I meant YES when I said yes to that.
So now I had to go back to my friend and change my Word. I had to say, “when I said yes, I meant it. And now I need to change that, and I’m very sorry, but here’s when I can hang out this weekend…”
I had integrity to myself, first, and then to him. That’s what my word is worth. It means something REAL. And it can change and evolve as life happens but I still consider that my word means something and I need to remember it.
Toilet paper. We’re back to that.
As part of the Landmark training program, the volunteers (they call them People Who Assist — same thing, because we do assist) would clean the bathrooms and change the toilet paper rolls. And this was done by gender identity because that’s how bathrooms are designated in most places so there was no weirdness about men not cleaning or whatever. Men cleaned the men’s room and women cleaned the women’s room. And it was done according to the same level of cleanliness or not at all. Toilet paper rolls were replaced if they were empty, end of story.
And I did that, because it’s what everyone else did and it was expected I would, too. If I didn’t, the next person who went in to check my work would come back and be like, “yo. I changed them when it was my turn and you gave your Word you would when it was your turn, so what happened?”
And it wasn’t accusatory or nasty. It was just fact. And this person was holding me accountable to my Word. Basically saying, if you can’t do what you say you will, what is your Word actually worth?
This helps make the resolution thing easy as pie to actually accomplish. It’s not about fixing yourself or being more faster or smarter or whatever. It’s just simply, “what do I want and what needs doing and am I willing to be the person to do it?”
Set your Word to something you want to do. Or need to do. Or just say you WILL do it. Think of me in the bathroom changing those rolls because others were and it was my job to do it next.
And how I do that still because my integrity synapse is just so deep now that I can’t look at an empty roll and not think that it’s up to me to change the goldern thing.