My name is Edima and I have lived for 396 moons. I’m a travel blogger who has been to 35 countries and lived in 15. I have met people from different cultures and backgrounds, and 5 books won’t do my experience justice. My sojourn has made me see the lowly rise and the mighty fall. But this is not about me or my wanderings. It is about the one truth I have learned – that integrity does not stop at being honesty. Take that in. Digest it. Integrity is the foundation on which everything that gives life is built, but it is not honesty.
Let me explain. Integrity means to do the right thing. It is to do what you say you will do and to keep your promises. However, while it is often clear from an ethical perspective, how do we assess what the ‘right’ thing is when it is not guided by ethics, rules, or guidelines? What is the ‘right’ thing when viewed through the lens of our individual values and moral code?
I feel that integrity is a composite of honesty and consistency. More than just being true or honest, integrity thrives on consistency. It is doing the right over and over without wavering.
Carol B. Thomas opines that “everyone comes into this world with different levels of integrity.” However, what qualifies a person to be considered ‘high’ above others is their total dedication to doing the right. Consistency.
You can easily spot someone with integrity. They are consistent in honesty, doing the right thing even when nobody is watching and keeping their word. They keep people’s confidence, repay their debts, clean up their own messes, and accept responsibility for their actions.
Please bear in mind that these persons are capable of sinning, but they choose not to toll that path. They choose the values that both put them in a good light and uplift others. Integrity is a choice we make, and it’s a choice we must keep making every moment of our lives.
Many of us live very disintegrated lives. The way we live at work is different from the way we live at home. We follow one code of behavior when we’re at church and a completeley different one when we’re out with our friends. We cut moral corners when we think nobody’s looking, but try to do the right thing when we’re in the spotlight. We tell “little white lies” when they don’t seem to matter, but claim to be honest people deserving of trust from others.
For most persons, living a fractured life is quite natural. This is partly because of habit and partly because of what is obtainable in our environment. How many times have we heard that it’s fine for a political leader to lie to his wife, just as long as he is good at his public job? So many times. We disconnect private and public life as if such disintegration is no big deal.
Consistency really is key, and it’s certainly true when it comes to having integrity. We all can act honorably, yet somehow when people want to judge us, they do so based on times when we didn’t.
Just like first impressions, we may be evaluated by only a brief encounter or even someone’s word-of-mouth, instead of by our continuous efforts. The good news is that we aren’t defined by our past or a moment of poor judgement on our part; we’re defined by our day-to-day actions and attitudes.
To develop and protect your integrity, start by identifying your core values. These are the values that you will refuse to compromise on, no matter what.
Then, develop a culture of integrity around you, work on building your self-confidence and self-esteem, and develop relationships with others who live with integrity.
Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “In all this world there is no substitute for personal integrity. It includes honor. It includes performance. It includes keeping one’s word. It includes doing what is right regardless of the circumstances” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 270).