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If You Mess Up, Fess Up

Linda: The reward for the work of becoming a person of integrity is that we begin to live a life of harmony. There has been a significant amount of inner work, and we finally know ourselves at a deeper level. We feel we are on the right path; that we are living according to our own personal values; there is a sense of ringing true. There is an alignment of what we think and feel and say and do, all lined up as one. Our inner life and outer life are expressions of each other; we are living our truth.

We can learn to set a context for moments of bliss and joy with our partner. Simple actions such as preparing a meal, making a bed together, working in the garden, a simple touch or whatever we are doing is elevated to a place of the sacred. In those moments, we feel that everything is divine and we are part of it. We begin to live in gratitude for the abundance of moments of harmony and happiness we feel when we experience love pouring out of us and pouring into us.

We can relax. “I’m at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, with the right person. I’ve discovered the secret of life: It is giving and receiving love.” We don’t know this just intellectually, but we feel it in our body and emotions. That’s the “aha” moment. The thought drops down below the level of the head and fill us in our body and our feelings.

We finally realize that ordinary people with ordinary relationships can throw in together with an intention to support each other’s growth in consciousness and to self-actualize. We can make a contract that we will be a catalyst for each other’s development. Then everything that goes on in the relationship, every argument, each episode of reactivity, all the shared intimacies, become opportunities to learn. The relationship becomes a rich ground for self-development. We use everything as compost, creating rich conditions for development in our life. When we begin living from this deep truth, and our partner has done their healing and growing work, we have prepared the soil for a great blooming of color, fragrance and fruit.

When we have integrity, we don’t compartmentalize. We grow big enough to hold the tension of the opposites. If we believe loving is a wonderful thing, then we do not consciously hurt the people we love and still claim to be a loving person. We do everything possible to interrupt the old patterns that are unkind or disrespectful so our behavior is consistent with our values.

Integrity is difficult to achieve because of all the competing urgencies. Tension exists between the part of us that wants to stay safe and protected and the part of us that wants to risk opening up to be close and intimate with another. Once we have been hurt we want to prevent being hurt again and we struggle with also wanting to forgive and let go. Being a person of integrity requires that we know our self at a very deep level, and that we have the courage to live from that truth.

Becoming a person of integrity is a powerful example of doing our own work. We have an extraordinary opportunity, when we are in a committed partnership, to use the relationship as a mirror to see the places in ourselves that need tending. We can make mistakes and learn from them. Living in integrity is learning to see those parts of ourselves that we have so much trouble seeing, and learning to love those parts of ourselves that we have so much trouble loving.

We tell the truth because it is the perfect antidote to the self-righteousness, anxiety, arrogance, guilt and resentment that we often feel when we don’t. The compassion and humility that flows from honesty gradually erodes those undesired aspects of our personality and deepens our experience of respect that leaves us feeling more connected with others, more self-accepting, and more free to live life authentically.

We commit, not always successfully, to live in integrity with the truth of our experience not because we want to be good people, but because it’s the best thing that we can do for ourselves. It’s the most direct path to our own heart and to the hearts of others. If in doing so others benefit, so much the better. This is called “enlightened self-interest”. It’s the ultimate win-win game. And by the way, the interest that you receive is compounded on a daily basis. Can you think of a better investment?


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If You Mess Up, Fess Up


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2020). If You Mess Up, Fess Up. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 May 2020
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.