Over the past week or so I have been exploring the idea of Integrity. Both lying and straying from one’s moral code can lead to dichotomies in our identity and subsequently fill us with guilt. When we have an idea of who we want to be, or what moral code we adhere to, and our actions do not align with this vision, it can be detrimental in many ways. Throughout the past days, I have committed to being more purposeful with what I do and say in an effort to make sure my actions align with the person I know I am. I hope you enjoy the following post about Integrity:
- Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
- Moral soundness; honesty; freedom from corrupting influence or motive;
c. 1400, integrite, “innocence, blamelessness; chastity, purity,” from Old French integrité and directly from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness,” from integer “whole” (see integer).
Integer: “a whole number” (as opposed to a fraction),
1570s, from noun use of Latin integer (adj.) “intact, whole, complete,” figuratively, “untainted, upright,” literally “untouched,” from in- “not” (see in- (1)) + root of tangere “to touch” (from PIE root *tag- “to touch, handle”). The word was used earlier in English as an adjective in the Latin sense, “whole, entire” (c. 1500).
Integrity is often thought of as being honest or morally sound. While these are certainly true I believe there are some more elements to explore. The two key elements of Integrity that I focused on were ensuring that one’s actions correlate with the moral code one has established for themselves as well as maintaining this alignment consistently regardless if one is alone or with others. Being morally good and ethical while you know there is someone there to comment or keep you honest is obviously a good thing but having true integrity is about knowing that although no one might know if you did the right or wrong thing, you will always know.
Integrity: Establishing a moral code for oneself and aligning one’s thoughts, words, and actions to it regardless of the environment, situation, or people present.
“If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”-Henry Kravis
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”-Bob Marley
I chose to use mainly circles in creating the symbol for Integrity because they have a consistent appearance regardless of the angle they are viewed from. This symbolizes the importance of maintaining consistency regarding one’s moral identity. The three smaller circles represent the mind, body, and soul and are aligned to portray the importance of aligning one’s actions and thoughts with one’s moral code.
A moral code to follow,
Without it, inside is hollow;
Each action, a chance to align,
One’s body, soul, and mind.
If these ever contradict,
Within our heart, appears a rift;
Guilt and confusion flood inside,
Dichotomies build, no place to hide.
I chose to represent Integrity with the above painting to highlight the two key parts that I believe are present in its meaning. There are two identical individuals that have their brain (mind), limbs (body), and heart (soul) aligned and connected. This alignment is meant to express the necessity of maintaining equilibrium between the actions and words we choose to use and the moral code we abide by. One individual is in the light, representing when one’s actions are visible to others and the world, and the other is in the dark, representing when one’s actions are only visible to that individual. The consistency between these two scenarios depicts how to truly embody Integrity, one needs to consistently act according to their moral code regardless of who is watching.
Questions and Answers
Why is this a value you want to instill in your life?
I have struggled with white lies in the past, whether it was to sound cooler and impress someone or to spare someone’s feelings. Regardless of the reasoning, all lies lead to a build-up of guilt within us causing rifts between our true self and our actions. That being said, I want honesty and staying true to what I believe is right to be something I am constantly aware of. I believe consistently having Integrity in all situations is one of the ultimate measurements of a person’s true worth.
What activities bring out this value?
The obvious activities are telling the truth and following what you believe is right at every opportunity. These, however, are not the only things one can do. I think a really powerful way to bring Integrity into the spotlight of one’s life is to very clearly know and review one’s own moral code. This can get very complex, but by being more aware and bringing it to one’s attention, staying true to the person we want to be is far easier in each situation. Another interesting activity I have been exploring is meditating on different morally charged scenarios that could come up in one’s life and treating it as a practice run. This allows us to really think about how we would act in different scenarios so that we are not having to make quick decisions in the moment.
How would the world be different if more people identified more with this ideal?
Firstly, there would be virtually no crimes or disingenuous acts because people would be more aware of their actions and the moral implications. People would be more trusting because more people would lie less often and be more genuine. This would lead to a greater level of cooperation among humans and ultimately a more prosperous environment for everyone.
What image comes to mind when imaging this ideal?
I see a bright light protruding out from one’s heart as a visual representation of their Integrity. I also associate a genuine and integrity-filled person having a light blue shimmer around them. Also I picture that scene from the Grinch where his heart grows bigger and bigger.
How can people who want to do this first take steps to include it in their daily routine more?
I think a great first step in working to have more Integrity is to wear a necklace or bracelet that can act as a reminder to stay true to your idea of morality. Whether that means simply reminding you to lie less often or even to give you the courage to stand up for what you believe is right when no one else is.
If you have any other questions you think would aid in the understanding and development of future ideals, please leave a comment below!
The following playlist is the beginning of my collection of songs that I believe embody Integrity:
If you have any other songs you think would fit in the playlist, please leave a comment down below letting me know!
Next Value: Service
The next ideal I will be coding into my brain is Service. I strongly believe we feel the most fulfilled as humans when we do acts for other beings without expecting anything in return. I volunteered quite a bit through the club Interact when in high school and continued to do so in college and always thoroughly enjoyed it. Recently I have not been volunteering as much and plan to change that. Volunteering is certainly not the only way to be of service to others but it is a wonderful place to start. I will be volunteering tomorrow and as much as I can throughout the next week and a half. I look forward to having Service at the forefront of my thoughts.
Make Today Your Best Day Yet!
“Life is a series of fresh starts, the frequency of use is up to the individual”~Zak Keller aka amusingmonk~