Integrity: A rarity these days?

As life continues, every day I experience the most challenging lessons. I’m here today to write concerning integrity.

Some recent meetings and talks with people have prompted me to reconsider this idea. I had heard, known it, but I had to continue to articulate this concept to a deeper degree because I had spoken with people. Whether I heard it wrong, I needed to know?

A week ago, I met a few people to make a huge decision, I’ll never forget the talk that I had with them because it opened up for me a whole new universe of possibilities.

After a few minutes, I was left with the urge to research the idea about “integrity,” of which most people spoke. I learned how we human beings are far behind in knowing, supporting, and respecting those around us. There was no room to be truthful, accountable for one’s acts.

What’s the difference, then? What was missing?

It’s one term, I believe: Integrity

After the meeting, I spent hours and hours researching this concept. So, what is integrity? Integrity means the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or moral uprightness. Ethically, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Thus, we could say that integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. Or, you might see integrity as staying true to yourself and your word, even when you’re faced with serious consequences for the choices that you’re making.

Over my personal and professional experience in life, I came across people who valued “integrity” in themselves. They believed that they uphold all the morals, values but unfortunately only in words. In some recent interactions, I felt it was just a false image which they tried to project onto others to make themselves feel better. Upon research, I learned that your integrity is what determines your reputation, and, just as this proverb states, “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.”– (Japanese Proverb) all it can take is a single bad choice to destroy a lifetime’s worth of integrity.

Often, people cut corners or make bad choices when they think no one is watching. Having integrity means that, no matter what, you make the right choice – especially when no one is watching!

You’ll usually know what’s right and wrong, although sometimes you might need some quiet time to figure it out. If you’re not sure what the right choice is, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. “If my choice was printed on the front page of the newspaper for everyone to see, would I feel OK about it?”
  2. “If I make this choice, will I feel OK with myself afterward?”

Remember, honesty and integrity aren’t values that you should live by when it’s convenient; they’re values that you should live by all the time. This includes the big choices and the little choices – the choices everyone sees, and the choices that no one sees.

People with integrity often have the same characteristics: they’re humble, they have a strong sense of self, they have high self-esteem, and they’re self-confident. These characteristics are important, because, sometimes, you’ll be under intense pressure from others to make the wrong choice.

Despite having the plethora of information available, we still fake this all? Why? Why is this component missing in us?

Anyone who has had an abusive childhood, or an abusive marriage, a mental illness we need to be open and willing to discuss with honesty. We need to take full responsibility for our actions. I came across several articles, emphasizing on the importance of integrity in relationships, are we implementing it?

It is normal that at some point or another, we all falter on our commitments. Pride gets in the way. We act selfishly. We come up short and fall out of integrity with ourselves. Couples who turn to excuses for their lack of integrity quickly find the trust and passion they once shared eroding beneath their feet. They find reasons for their shortcomings, infidelities, unkind words, impatience, and their selfishness. They can provide lists of explanations for their lack of integrity. They seek validation for our reasons. They get their friends and family to support them, justify them and cheer them on as they avoid accountability, and preserve their sense of pride, and rightness. A lack of integrity eats away at every good thing that is necessary for building a happy, healthy, long-lasting relationship.

The Whys of my life and perhaps yours?

Why don’t we work on building and improving these characteristics within ourselves, so that we have the strength and courage to do the right thing when the time comes.

Why can’t we avoid white lies? They may seem harmless, but tiny lies are a still lie. Why can’t we always tell the truth?

How difficult or how much does it cost to take responsibility for your actions? If we make a mistake, how complicated is it to own up to it immediately and do whatever it takes to right the situation?

Why can’t we keep our word, and why can’t we avoid making promises that we know we can’t keep?

Why can’t we keep in mind that in times of fear, disaster, and chaos, the temptation is even greater to make a wrong choice? Why can’t we use these opportunities to demonstrate our true character?

Why can we avoid seeming self-satisfied or priggish when we’re acting with integrity: why can’t staying humble and down-to-earth be an option? Why can’t we stop looking for approval from the wrong people?

I’m sure while reading this piece, you’d realize so many among you do this but its never too late to bring a positive change!

There is a way … there is a cure!

If you make a mistake, you own that instead of avoiding to discuss or denying it right away. You, with honesty, admit to your shortcomings and recommit to each other with a renewed sense of love. You don’t make excuses. You don’t come up with insane reasons. You don’t place the blame on each other, or anything else. You recognize that the only person responsible for your integrity is You and only YOU. Deal with the situation assertively, right away,

Parenting is an art, I believe (though I’m not a parent myself) but I have seen my parents always telling me to do the right thing. To value commitments, to honor them with courage and energy. To be strong and confident to differentiate between right and wrong. To lift others and to be strong enough to handle the repercussions of the choices made.

I believe every parent should inculcate this in their children. Give them power, give them the strength and motivation to lead a better and happier life. Give them a sense of belongingness instead of abandoning them that they are old/mature enough to manage their affairs on their own. Be open and be friends with them. Your children will always need guidance. Be a source of light for them.

I still wonder sometimes whether I’m “in the right.” But when I take time to think and rewind my decisions and seek out my moral compass, I can feel I am increasing my ability to confidently know what to do without doubting myself. Even if I need to disrupt the outward peace, I feel inner-peace. And remember, integrity is the key to inner peace in a relationship.

To develop and protect your integrity, start by identifying your core values. These are the values that you will then refuse to compromise on, no matter what. Next, analyze every choice you make to ensure that you’re doing the right thing.

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.

Think of the areas of your life are you lacking integrity? Decide to fix that now by first, taking ownership of how you’ve lacked integrity, then committing to do better and be better.

Create a better tomorrow for this world! For us!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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