In Hamlet, Shakespeare writes, “To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not be false to any man.” In this line, the first step to integrity is being true to your own inner voice.
There’s a corollary in Toltec wisdom, according to Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: “Be impeccable with your word.” That this is the first agreement written seems important, as the other agreements spring from being true to your word, and to your self.
It’s not always the easiest path – being true to yourself. Many people throughout history have been labeled crazy, odd, or other equally derisive terms for not following norms. But norms are norms because they are the average. By that very definition, there must be people on both sides of the average.
Norms are societal agreements; common acceptable behaviors. But they had to begin somewhere, and what is common now may have very well been uncommon before.
It’s okay to be yourself. In fact, it’s preferable to be yourself, rather than someone else. “This above all, to thine own self be true.”