How To Party With Integrity

Party Long. Party Hard. Party Wild. But Do It With Integrity. who ‘dat!

What does it mean to party with integrity? If you’re getting images of stiff rules and worrying about what others think of you, that ain’t it. You can do pretty much anything, with or without any measure of integrity.

Here’s the thing:

One of the best things about partying is the feeling of letting loose; of being yourself, however wild, crazy, and silly that happens to be.

Yet this is precisely the thing that turns people into complete idiots.

Now, I’m not being judgemental about what people do when they party. I think it’s essential to celebrate and let yourself feel and experience whatever you want; to give yourself permission to really explore what fun can be.

How To Party With Integrity

You only need to ask yourself one question in order to figure out what integrity is:

“Is this life affirming?”

Is what you’re doing, planning to do, or contributing to life affirming? Do your thoughts, words and actions create beauty, or do they contribute to suffering – your own or others?

This doesn’t have to be heavy. It’s not even something that has to be thought about for long. Generally you’ll get an instant answer from your heart or your instinct.

Although there are some times when part of you will say yes and the other no. Or, maybe you know it’s not helpful and might cause you some suffering (the next morning, perhaps) but you want to do it anyway.

So, when confusion hits, consider the following ideas:

• Life is about exploring experiences and creatively expressing YOU
• Ideally in harmony with everything else, since it’s all connected
• You can have wild, crazy, incredible, mind-blowing fun
• AND do it in a way that creates light and laughter

Yeah, sure, I could’ve just written those two sentences out, but I thought I’d put it in bullets to make a point. You CAN have it all. Just choose your own adventure through life in ways that add to goodness, rather than trashing it.

What Does “Life Affirming” Mean?

Things that are life affirming feel good. They make you smile, laugh, and make other people smile and laugh. They bring more beauty and joy and peace and play into the world. They feel fulfilling, bring you a thrill of excitement (without hurting you or anyone else), and feed your soul.

Or sometimes they’re the hardest thing in the world to do, like leave a relationship when you know you have to make a change, or work extra hard to bring love back to balance. Or shift an addiction. Those kinds of things where you know the life affirming choice isn’t going to feel good at first, but what you need to do in order to keep growing into who you want to be.

I think you get the idea. It isn’t about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, though. It’s not someone else’s idea of what you should be doing.

It’s softer than that; kinder and more flexible. It’s not based on the rules of others, but what truly, sincerely serves YOU (and anyone else affected).

You can think of it as “Is this the path I want to take in life or not?”

Some issues that might come up…

“But I like getting wasted!” Do you? Ask yourself really, truly, do you? If you do, okay. How are you doing it?

Intoxication is a touchy subject when you look at it from a perspective of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. So instead let’s apply the question: “Is it life affirming?”

Drinking till you’re sick or doing substances that leave lasting damage are pretty obvious. No, not so much life affirming actions.

But what about a few drinks? What about drugs that enhance the experience and aren’t really harmful? When you get really honest with these questions, the answer could go either way for different individuals and situations.

Again, how are you doing it? Is it every day? Is it with mindfulness? Is it to escape or shift your mood in a fun-loving or creative way, or is it to simply numb you? Does it serve you in the moment? What about long term? Do you have respect for yourself while you’re doing it (and after?)

These are all things you can consider to help you reflect on the deeper meaning of substances. They can also be applied to other subjects.

“But I like breaking shit. Alrighty then. Why? What drives you to feel aggressive? And can it be expressed in different ways? Can you go dance all night, punching the air and stomping on the ground? Can you work out hard before you go party so you’re chill and don’t have so much raging energy?

You might also look at where your motivation comes from. Is it just pent up energy or is it deeper, like anger that wants to be addressed, healed, and forgiven; turned into something happier?

Again, when you ask yourself this stuff do it in a way that is objective – rather than judging yourself, simply aim to get to the truth of who you are and decide if you want to shift your outlook or you’re happy as you are.

“This is just what my friends and I do.” Right. Well, maybe they’ve been secretly thinking it’s time to do things slightly different – or the same things from a different approach.

Or maybe you need to take a closer look at yourself and decide if perhaps you need to hang out with a different group of friends. You might not need to necessarily abandon your current friends, but if they influence you to do things you don’t want to do, maybe you don’t want to hang out with them as often.

Sometimes it’s a matter of just getting comfortable with being who you are no matter who you’re with. Of being able to stick to “no thanks” or do something even though they might poke a bit of fun at you for it. And other times you have to completely walk away from a situation that isn’t taking you where you want to go. I’ve done both, and seen everything in between.

These considerations are worth at least taking a look, and getting honest with what you see.

By all means, party. Party hard, party often, party long. But do it in ways that celebrate who you are and who you want to be as a human being. Party with integrity, and you’ll not only have more fun, but you’ll be able to smile with yourself the next morning.

- Katrina Ariel

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