Integrity: Did You Know You Have It?

Posted: May 24, 2012 in motivation, what makes us tick
Tags: , ,

Have you ever wondered if you’re a person of integrity? I’ve got good news for you: yes, you are. Always have been. Only it is likely not what you thought integrity was.

Integrity is consistency of actions and values. But despite of what you think your values are, real values are those that get manifested in actions, not the ones manifested in thoughts. If you wish to be strong, but act as a weakling, your true value is not strength, no matter how much you like to think of it. Your true value is weakness. You always stay true to your values. You may just not like them — the same way you can dislike your height, voice or color of your eyes. Yet, they are always there, defining everything you do.

But here’s the catch. Once you truly realize that your actions are the only manifestation of your values you have a choice. You can continue acting the same way you’ve always acted or start acting in accordance to the values you thought were yours. In the first case, you will continue longing for imaginary integrity based on phantom values, while slowly hating yourself and making endless Monday resolutions. In the second case, you will eventually get to the point where you’re proud of your true values — and yourself. That choice — and consistent non-stop adherence to it — is the only true test of your true values.

You always have integrity. But it can be either automatic mindless integrity by submission or conscious integrity by choice. And that choice is the foundation of every other choice you make in life.

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Comments
  1. Sunshine says:

    My son in grade school (yes, a public school) recently wrote this in writing class in which he had a few different quotes to choose from. Ever since my son was little, I used bad choices as teachable moments to help him understand consequences and good choices as times to praise him. In reading his paper, I hope that maybe this means the wise choice philosophy has begun to sink in. Here is what he wrote:

    Integrity

    “Proverbs 10:9 – People with integrity walk safely; but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.”

    Those are very wise words spoken and seen billions of times. They have been written in one book, the Bible, the holy word of God. This is a very, very important verse. One of the most important in my opinion. Even though it is probably the first time I heard it. I think other people will think the same.

    Proverbs was in the old testament (B.C.) so it is older than the other quotes I could have chose. I really understand what this is saying. If you make right choices, it will give you a nice reputation, but if you make bad choices it will ruin your reputation.

    One thing is that if you don’t follow this, you will have regrets. Regrets are like when you wish you didn’t do something. Like if you bullied someone and you got a referral. If you chose not to bully someone you would not get in trouble and not have regrets. See cause and effect. It’s that simple.

    And the conclusion is… follow the integrity path! Which means for example be truthful and courageous. Do you get what I’m saying? If you made bad choices before, then think about consequences. That is the meaning of this great verse!
    ————-

    Beyond thoughts and actions, I think one other factor in integrity is the importance of words with the actions because integrity also means doing what you say you’re going to do. If you use words whether written or spoken, you need to follow through. If you can’t or don’t intend on following through, learn to not use words by making empty promises trying to appease someone. I know this one all too well and am still learning what I am willing to commit to or not. Sometimes I have good intentions, but too much to do or a fun diversion of my attention and oops, didn’t get to it because I really deep down wanted to do something else instead. When being true to yourself, you have to make sure you don’t hurt or let down other people in the process. When people make empty promises, others cannot rely on them. Words used carelessly lead people to believe one thing and something either doesn’t occur or the opposite occurs and the person is then viewed without integrity by the person(s) something was promised to. Failure to follow through once or twice is not as big a deal in risking loss of integrity (depending on what it is), but several times and you’ve lost being viewed as having integrity by those affected by the unfuliflled promise(s). Many view the following words as something that will be followed through on: I’ll try, I’ll see, I can, I will, probably, maybe, etc. I have found it is best to learn to make few promises in life, but the few solid promises you do make let them be all encompassing with every ounce of integrity in it (or hang with people that go with the flow and are okay if everything is not completely structured with some wiggle room). The thing about promises is that they go hand in hand with integrity. We all know at the moment we are going to speak if the thought, word, intention is going to match the value and action. You know the saying in business: under promise and over deliver to keep customers happy. How much do you value integrity? I think integrity and honor/respect are synonymous and therefore we need to ask ourselves how important is it to us and how much we want to be respected in our home, career, society and what that looks like in our lives. Yes, I’m talking about visualizing what it looks like, what kind of words are used and learning to stick to the positive values that you do like about yourself, basing decisions on your core values. It begins with self-respect and knowing what you value then it branches out from there.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Recently struggling a touch of this personally. Becoming a little off track from myself. Made the mistake of allowing my true values to get lost. Did I see it happening? No. If it had not been for someone who I regard as very important, whose opinion matters and who I respect. I would not have recognized this at all. What could have been a destructive path. I was making “automatic mindless integrity by submission,” instead of what I had always lived by in this particular case, using “conscious integrity by choice.” What I need to do is, walk the talk.

    Thank you Unmaskd for once again for bringing some light into something important enough, had I not recognized could have resulted in a loss with great regret.

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  3. Where everything is IN integrity & anything goes, what exactly does it mean to NOT be in INtegrity?

    Perhaps INactivity is a from of integrity? ie) Not acting on who U R and what U know?

    …But even that is INtegrity in waiting~ if integrity simply equates to action…

    One thing is for sure….everything is equal under the heavens whatever we choose to do.

    We do what we do & in that respect we are always in INTegrity to the given moment ~ as you rightly say

    Sometimes there is no other way & we have 2 B patient with ourselves, and our circumstances, acting in intergrity, whatever that may be for the next step forward.

    Perhaps it is only moving BACKwards which scuppers the Intergrity quotient ~ then again a step back often comes before actions which hold the most significance.

    Mm…Interesting & Curious #saidHolmestoWatson

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  4. …seems 2 B that it is the QUALITY of our integrity which counts ! Is is mindless or conscious?

    To say *I just acted with mindless integrity* does not sound quite right …

    Clearly *Consciousness* is the only word which admirably fits the action

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  5. dancergypsy says:

    Integrity as, Unmaskd, simply stated is “consistency of actions and values”. Integrity is also, in my opinion, the authenticity of a person, or core of him/her. It is what you are when no one is watching. It is that yearning voice to align your mind with your soul and to present yourself at all times as yourself without concern, but naturally and honest. There is nothing complicated about it. However, I do believe you are either integrity or not. There are moments in which we are not true to ourselves. This can occur for a season (period of time- short or long) depending on the events of one’s life, but it is no excuse for staying “off track”. Personally, I do not define people by their past. I take it into consideration but I look at their current worldview, daily practice, and personal philosophy. I like to know their goals and how hard they are really working for them. Then I observe, but more than any other observation–I observe myself.

    Sarah, if I may be so bold, you shared, “To say *I just acted with mindless integrity* does not sound quite right …” My response would be; a person who is not living or behaving out of consciousness will not have the brains, wit, or thought to make such a claim. Such a person walks, talks, eats, breathes, and does practically everything in blindness. This type of “consistency of actions and values” is empty habitual blindness birthed from mindlessness.

    “Perhaps INactivity is a from of integrity? ie) Not acting on who U R and what U know?”
    >> Inactivity is a form of laziness. Not acting on who you are and what you know consciously is cowardice and procrastination. If that is your integrity, that is what you value. I would add, such values are rooted in weakness.

    “…But even that is INtegrity in waiting~ if integrity simply equates to action…”
    >> How exactly is integrity in waiting, if we are either what we are or are not (with few exceptions as I clarified above)?? Transitional stages of life are this kind of exception, but you are either true or false, you are not waiting for anything. You can only be or not be. However, during transformation, behavior in alignment with values that represent your true soul are becoming more solid habits with practice.

    “One thing is for sure….everything is equal under the heavens whatever we choose to do.”
    >> It’d be a lovely thought to believe this– but if such a statement were true we would all be millionaires, win the Nobel Prize, and end up in the history books. Alas, we don’t all have these things nor do we all share the same attributes, or beliefs. The truth is, we are not all equal. A strong person realizes this and demands the courage and strength of himself/herself that is required in order to make something of his/her life, regardless. Otherwise, we are passing through, just like many others. Each of us are unique, and should have equal rights, but we are not all equal. Frankly, some people have put more effort into their existence and strive towards the higher things in life. Accordingly, some are entitled to knowledge, opportunities, things, etc. that others are not. No offense, but I do not regard the profession of a prostitute as equally valuable as the profession of a doctor.

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    • dancer gypsy …just briefly? I am pushing the point … I know saying *I acted with mindless integrity* does not sound quite right… that is Y I said it! Cos it develops (well echoes ) the points made by UNM… and is loaded with Irony… (as is everything I have said there …I like irony 🙂 )

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  6. dancergypsy says:

    This is the epitome of integrity from my perspective: “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become… habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.” -Margaret Thatcher in the movie, “The Iron Lady”

    How you manage your thoughts, words, actions, habits, character and destiny, is ultimately how you manage yourself. If you are mindless everything else that follows after thoughts, will be mindless, too. Your integrity relies upon your thoughts and if you possess no strong thoughts that amount to anything worthwhile then your life will be a mirror to exemplify that trait.

    For example, you are what you eat, some say. The kind of thought you put into what you eat, directly relies on what you can physically manifest. Some people never really think about what they eat, what kind of “fuel” they burn to live, or anything else for that matter.

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  7. dancergypsy says:

    Ooooh, how ironic… hah! 🙂

    In the future, you should probably know that I am not at all used to the popular modern internet and text messaging lingo, which is quite prevalent in writing these days. It all appears to me as typos or a foreign language. I regularly have to put effort towards translating things. It seems as though technology is creating another language altogether; this makes it difficult for me to interpret voice. I missed the irony and how you developed a point. I’ll learn to “get you” eventually…the more I “hang around”. haha! Thanks for clarifying. 🙂

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    • Thanks DG ! But I don’t think I used any techno lingo did I? ..better check… Just fairly normal lingo I think! 🙂 I do admit my thought process can be slightly off-the-wall… sorry for any confusion … whenever you don’t understand something just assume it is Ironic & you probably won’t be far wrong 😉

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  8. dancergypsy says:

    Hmmm, maybe it’s some other kind of lingo I’m unfamiliar with, but you capitalize letters and use numbers, and apparently ask rhetorical questions differently than I, over ever asking a real question. As well, you replace entire words with a single letter. I don’t understand the significance of this: #saidHolmestoWatson. What is the point of putting words together like that without any spaces? I have no knowledge of its significance (and I’m not referring to the specific words).

    It’s alright to have a thought process that is unique. I hope to comprehend how you communicate it soon enough. 🙂 No need to apologize. There was no harm done. It never occurred to me that I didn’t understand you, but from now on I will double check myself and say, “Ah! Irony is hiding in here somewhere. Miss Sarah loves doses of irony!” 🙂

    Rest assured if I were to converse with you in person I would understand you far more than you would expect. Internet interactions make me feel blind and deaf half the time.

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    • Oh I see what you mean… I guess I am even slightly ironic in the use of the # Hashtag …it is a twitter trend thing and I admittedly do rather (deliberately) over use it… #forfun (ie) on sentences that couldnt possibly ever *trend* on twitter)

      again using letters and numbers is a twitter thing… cos U R limited to 140 digits #oldhabitsdiehard Ooops… 🙂

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  9. dancergypsy says:

    Also, in the future, when I share my thoughts it is never with the intention of insulting anyone’s intelligence. I am here to learn. Formerly, I never used these kind of interactions with strangers. I refused to use a computer until I absolutely had to in my senior year of high school. I also did not grow up watching television for twenty years of my life. In the last few years have I adapted, but still have less internet savvy than many children. I had an acute dislike for technology and modern appliances as a youngster, to the point I wouldn’t even use a bread machine (still haven’t) or microwave. It sounds rather silly, I admit, but that was the nature of my disposition for many years. Now, I understand that if I intend on getting anywhere much in life within average society that I need to adapt. I’m learning to have an appreciation for social networks and technology without it turning me into a lazy weak-minded person addicted to the ease of the internet. I’m commonly understood as a bit old fashioned. 🙂

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  10. dancergypsy says:

    Recently I was challenged in a tough way, bringing me back to this place of question. Integrity? What is that again? Sometimes when life is at ease we have a load to say about integrity. The hardest time to stick with what you really believe in is when you know there is potential loss, hurt feelings, misunderstandings. I asked myself what do I stand firm for, or do I yield just to make a person feel more comfortable when they are wrong? There comes a time in our lives when people disappoint us and there’s simply no way to cut it–it’s ugly. It may sound insensitive yet I still believe in any relationship–no matter the person–respect is absolutely necessary. This brought up a lot of things. What do I tolerate? I know my personal values but what will I take from another person? Will I just turn a blind eye or will I be the kind of friend Oscar Wilde speaks about, “A true friend stabs you in the front”?

    Admittedly, I made the choice to stab a friend in the front, but honestly it didn’t feel so much like I was a true friend. And of course that’s the reaction I got. I had to turn and walk away, too, and will never look back. Looking back isn’t an option when a decision like this is made in my life; that’s how I operate. You are either in or out. I reasoned that I didn’t want to stab anyone but at the same time, do I watch someone stab themselves? Do I watch someone be so outright disrespectful to others without any regard? No. It’s harming. When you really think about these kinds of things it becomes complex. I’m not the type who thrives on conflict. In fact, I try to live as peacefully as possible. However, I concluded: A true friend doesn’t watch another fall on his own knife. He takes the blame for it. By this, I mean the pain part, the part that cuts, because in this way it’s different. When we stab ourselves it doesn’t seem so significant, but when someone close stabs you it makes all the difference.

    Overlook this entire comment and song if the relevance of battle and such doesn’t set well with you on an inner level. I included the lyrics below in case some do not wish to watch the battle scene included with this song. I found this song soon after my experience and it made me see I want to stand for what I believe in, not question my integrity, because I know it’s authentic and honorable. My values and what I stand for make me happy. It’s like Unmaskd said, “That choice — and consistent non-stop adherence to it — is the only true test of your true values..” When it comes to integrity, it may turn out no one sees the value in what you stand for but you. That’s the whole point of integrity. It’s you.

    Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
    Some nights, I call it a draw
    Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
    Some nights, I wish they’d just fall off

    But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
    Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for oh
    What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
    Most nights, I don’t know anymore…
    Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa oh oh
    Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa oh oh

    This is it, boys, this is war – what are we waiting for?
    Why don’t we break the rules already?
    I was never one to believe the hype – save that for the black and white
    I try twice as hard and I’m half as liked, but here they come again to jack my style

    And that’s alright; I found a martyr in my bed tonight
    She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
    Oh, who am I? mmm… mmm…

    Well, some nights, I wish that this all would end
    Cause I could use some friends for a change
    And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again
    Some nights, I always win, I always win…

    But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
    Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for, oh
    What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
    Most nights, I don’t know… (come on)

    So this is it? I sold my soul for this?
    Washed my hands of that for this?
    I miss my mom and dad for this?

    (Come on)

    No. When I see stars, when I see, when I see stars, that’s all they are
    When I hear songs, they sound like this one, so come on
    Oh, come on. Oh, come on, OH COME ON!

    Well, that is it guys, that is all – five minutes in and I’m bored again
    Ten years of this, I’m not sure if anybody understands
    This one is not for the folks at home; Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
    Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

    My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she call “love”
    When I look into my nephew’s eyes…
    Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from…
    Some terrible {lies|nights}…ahhh…

    Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh
    Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh

    The other night, you wouldn’t believe the dream I just had about you and me
    I called you up, but we’d both agree
    It’s for the best you didn’t listen
    It’s for the best we get our distance… oh…
    It’s for the best you didn’t listen
    It’s for the best we get our distance… oh…

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