Would you prefer to go to a restaurant with the same menu every time or one that changes daily?
When you are in need, are you more likely to call on a friend who is always supportive or one who is only there for you sometimes?
Would you rather be evaluated for work performance based on subjective criteria or objective criteria?
In all these scenarios, most people choose the option that reflects consistency. Why? Let’s take a look.
You can’t have trust without consistency. If my friend calls me his best pal, then doesn’t call, acts distant when I am around, and doesn’t seem interested in being in my company, his words are inconsistent with his actions. This makes his words unbelievable.
If my boss tells me I am doing good work, then passes me over for promotion and doesn’t approve my raise, I am not going to trust him either.
When our words, emotions, and behaviors all send the same message, others perceive us as trustworthy. When they don’t, not only do others not trust us, we may become very confused ourselves about what we think, feel, and want where they are concerned. So being around people who flip flop and change their minds a lot makes us uncomfortable.
Integrity is about being whole or undivided. An undivided person is one where what you see is what you get. It means that if someone is honest and true to her values in one situation, you can safely assume that she is honest and true in others. When you skip out on commitments, don’t meet your deadlines, or cancel meetings at the last minute, people will feel that your word doesn’t matter to you. Perhaps your friends and your commitments don’t matter.
Makes for Better Boundaries
There are always people who want to push your boundaries. Some do it to take advantage of you. Some just do it because they are trying to establish their place in your world. Whatever the reason, when you consistently enforce those boundaries, all your relationships get better. You won’t have to have the same arguments over and over. You won’t have issues with drama because people will learn that each time they push up against you, you hold firm. So they stop pushing. They can feel safe with you.
Creates Better Relationships
The single most important thing you can do to create healthy relationships is to be consistent. Relationships are tough! It’s hard to deal with your own baggage and feelings. When you mix in those of someone else and then try to get two horses to pull together in the same direction, it can be impossible.
When you do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it, your partner can relax and know that you are reliable. This allows them to not worry about you. All they have to do is hold up their own end.
For example, here’s something that a lot of people do to sabotage trust. They say, “I like you.” Then when the other person does something that they don’t like, they withdraw their affection and positive regard. That sends the message, “I like you when you do things that make me happy or that I approve of.” That’s not the same thing as “I like you.”
If you want trust, mean what you say. Say what you mean. Be consistent.
Strengthens Self Esteem
People who are consistent show that they know who they are, what they want, and what they value. When you don’t waver, you show others what matters to you. You show them what you believe in and who you are. This not only creates respect from other people, it makes you feel better about yourself. You don’t have to hide your opinions, make excuses for what you want or don’t want to do, or be vague so that you don’t hurt someone else’s feelings. You are fine just as you are.
Consistency is a sign of stability and reliability. Whether we are talking about your self care routine, work habits, or interpersonal relationships, being consistent will help you in all aspects of your life. Try it. I think you will find that you are much happier.