Are You Including Integrity?

On this edition of Becoming Today, as the headline suggests our conversation will focus on a virtuous, moral and ethical aspect of our lives that is not-optional. Nothing like a little light Summer reading, right?

Integrity. 

What is it?

Why is it so important? 

How do we ensure we are living with it? 

Where to begin?

Let’s start with a common understanding and craft our definition of integrity.

I think both entries here offer a good starting point. “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”, amplified with, “ the state of being whole”. 

Plus the Merriam-Webster explanation can add:”firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY”.  

So let’s add another plus sign (+) followed by ‘incapable of being (bribed or) morally corrupted’.

Then we can do as my teachers always said draw a line, though today it’s probably more like placing a row of underscores, and complete this equation to arrive at the sum of :

Integrity is a foundational aspect of our personalities. It is a deeply held belief that we should be and are adhering to a strict moral code. This oath we voluntarily undertake includes being honest with both ourselves and others; living consistent with values that are above reproach and that we must choose to be incapable of being corrupted accepting that living by these  standards in an uncommon manner increases not only our lives to new levels, but also the quality of life for all we encounter.

Without freely embracing integrity we are limiting our lives. It’s why far too many people experience simply existing rather than being rewarded with a fulfilling life. 

Quoting Wikipedia, “the word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

For further study I’ll suggest these links for your consideration:

In order to be living with integrity each of us needs to be living by aligning your conduct with excellence. Displaying a firm dedication to our values and beliefs. Never wavering in adhering to higher standards and pledging to always attempt to do the right thing regardless of circumstances.

Notice I did say attempt, because no one is perfect. We will slip, we will make mistakes, sometimes even fall flat on our face. However when that occurs, we must decide to take the actions involved in getting up and pushing on. 

This can be supported by strengthening your inner dialogue. The conversations you have with yourself- in addition to “where did I put my keys?” and “I need…”, should be aligned with intentionally directing our actions in accordance with our individual understanding of what is right and wrong is. 

Being authentic is also very important. To ensure we are living with integrity our internal character must be consistent and well developed.It means walking our talk and rejecting hypocrisy.

Making integrity an integral part of our essence we can not claim to be perfect. Honesty involves being quick to acknowledge and own our mistakes and faults. Our integrated sense of sincerity should come  from a pure motivation to do what is right, always. 

I hope you are seeing why integrity is so important. Aligning ourselves with virtue and integrity allows for  peace of mind and a clear conscience by knowing you did the right thing regardless of the outcome.

The way you act is a reflection of your character and can either enhance or destroy your reputation. By declaring, and openly subscribing to the covenants of living a life with integrity it reveals to others that you have nothing to hide. That under scrutiny, your life would be accepted as being righteous.

By committing to live based on excellent principles, you provide an example for others to follow. You also have a basis for open communication with others because they trust you. Your relationships can prosper based on honesty and forthrightness.

You can make decisions much more easily because you have already determined to do what is excellent and therefore eliminated all the other alternatives. Acting with integrity gives you peace of mind in knowing you did the right thing regardless of the outcome.

Then what is the opposite of integrity?

Hypocrisy.

Someone not living a life filled with integrity is the definition of being a hypocrite. Those are the “smiling faces sometimes, show no traces of the evil that lurks within”. Those who pretend to be something they are not, or claim to believe something they do not . Their walk doesn’t jive with their talk, their words and actions do not align with their stated values and beliefs. Their substance may originate from a lie. 

If you are realizing that you are hypocritical about something, stop and ask yourself what it is that you actually want to accomplish in that situation. Do your desires align with your values and beliefs? After that reflection you can then choose to live in integrity by clarifying your intentions, motivations and visions. Focus on evaluating your words and reviewing your actions to see what you must change. Then practice becoming the change you desire.

All of our lives have an intrinsic, inalienable God-given value. We are designed to live a life of service. To use our talents, gifts and abilities to make life better for others.Doing so freely and with kindness, shows that maybe we have something someone desperately needs.

Kindness is an expression of admiration for our fellow human beings. That we all matter and truly have value and worth. That’s where we’ll pick up tomorrow, as we respectfully review with compassion, dignity and integrity the worry- free week that was here on Becoming Today. 

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