What is This Integrity Thing?

Honesty. Credibility. Integrity. Many so called experts seem to think they are all basically the same thing. A horse a piece. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Apples to apples. No difference at all. 

I disagree. 

Integrity is deeply personal, it is who you are, inside. 

If matching your words and actions lead to credibility, as I believe they do, then integrity is when your words and actions BOTH match your deepest held beliefs. ALWAYS!

You see, you either have integrity all the time or you don’t have integrity at all. I completely understand that by that definition very few people truly have integrity. I also understand that I am NOT among those few. 

I’m a work in progress… deal with it.

I’m not writing this post to admit to or announce my shortcomings. Those who know me best are fully aware of my foibles of which there are many. 

I’m writing this so that whoever reads it can understand that they too are a work in progress and that it’s okay. While it doesn’t make you perfect it does make you human and that’s a good thing. There is no need to pretend that you are perfect, in fact, pretending that you are actually subtracts from your integrity.

 As I plan some personal goals for 2016 I’m going to work hard to see everyone else as the same work in progress that I am. I’m going to assume that they also want to be better and I’m going to cut them a whole lot more slack than I have in the past. I’ll bet I will be happier then when I hold others to standards that I can’t meet.

Never use the fact that you don’t have integrity all the time as an excuse for not having integrity at all. Fight to be the person you would admire, the person you can admire in every circumstance. You will fall short at times but don’t use that as an excuse for not trying. 

You and I may not have integrity according to my very tough definition but that doesn’t mean we can’t come closer to it than most. Do what you truly believe to be right, live your values, makes the tough, often less fun choices and you’ll be on your way to being the person you truly want to be.

5 thoughts on “What is This Integrity Thing?

  1. Steve, this is such a great post. Many people do not understand that acting with integrity and living with integrity can be two different things. An integrious person’s values are congruent with and evident in their actions. I, like you, can say that there were times in my life that I did not act with integrity. To me, that is doing or saying something that you know is not right, but you do it anyway… to benefit yourself.

    The conflict I have seen in regard to people understanding integrity: is people have different belief systems of what is right and what is wrong. There are the apparent circumstances such as killing or harming someone that we know are not an action defined as integrity– then there are the everyday people in society who believe that what they do or how they treat others is acceptable because that is just their belief system. A part of them knows that others do not believe what they do or say is right, but they do or say things to further their personal agendas. I will be honest… those people infuriate me.

    “You are, and at all times, in control of your integrity. Integrity is one of the few things that someone can never take away from you.”

  2. Fantastic outline on integrity. Integrity is different for everyone and knowing what you personally stand for and behaving consistently in way that demonstrates and upholds your personal values creates great self-worth.

    • Indeed, it’s called walking you talk. If your words and actions don’t match it matters little what you say. People tend to believe what they see far faster than they believe what they hear.

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