A few months ago, I was discussing with friends and the term integrity came up. One of my friends, jokingly made an important observation. He said, “Seconde, integrity cannot pay your mortgage…” And of course, he was right! If it did, many of you would live debt-free forever!
Integrity doesn’t make you rich, it is not profitable in the economic sense; but it will give you the freedom to live a full life, void of hypocrisy, and allow you to live in your truth. Integrity can sustain you when all goes loose in your economics, and all you have is you and your inside world, and your strong sense of self-love.
So, what exactly is Integrity? The dictionary Merriam-Webster defines integrity as follow: the quality of being honest and fair, the state of being complete or whole.
But the definition I found most appealing is not from what I Googled as you would expect, or from any of the dictionaries. It is from my own observations of social interactions, and from watching too much television; especially in these last days of U.S election campaigns and debates.
In my opinion, Integrity is what you do when no one is watching you, or appraising your work, or judging and praising your moral compass. It is what you only do in your spare time, when no one is around. I would go even further, and say that integrity is not only what you do when no one is watching you, it is first and foremost what you think in the privacy of your mind. Because what you do comes from what you think─ your mind is where the action starts before it takes a physical form.
Now, please don’t misunderstand having Integrity with being a perfect person, or having a perfect record or personality!
First of all, let’s debunk this ‘perfect’ myth. There is no such thing as a perfect anything! However, not being perfect doesn’t mean you can’t have integrity! And having integrity doesn’t mean making no mistakes, or poor judgements about something. It only means that you allow yourself to be human, and live to the best of your humanity. It means that yes, you can make mistakes, but you can also apologize for them, and right the wrongs by admitting it first to yourself, and then to others.
Living in denial does not help anyone involved. So, next time someone accuses you of not living with integrity because of what you’ve done:
- First, take a deep breath.
- Second, seek first to understand before you start defending yourself.
- Third, proceed with a sincere apology on the wrongs you’ve caused; and repair any damage you’ve inflicted on others.
- Fourth, forgive! Forgive others, and forgive yourself. Bear in mind that what you’ve done to others, you’ve first done it to yourself when you first thought about it.
- Fifth, try to live with as much integrity as you are able to. Know that integrity won’t pay your mortgage, but it will allow you to live life as a whole, and not in fragmented personalities. And most importantly, integrity will allow you to live without regrets.
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