Integrity is a curious thing. I googled it out of curiosity and got 216 million hits in 0.13 seconds…. Obviously, a popular topic. For all its popularity, how often do you see it? Do you know it when you see it? There is agreement that it has to do with a firm adherence to a code of moral and ethical principles. Whose code? I suspect that is why there are 216 million hits on it…
This past year we have watched or participated as Democrats and Republicans battled it out in the election and now re the fiscal cliff, each accusing the other of a lack of integrity. Does integrity come in groups? Can it be found in the macro or does it originate within an individual only, thus e pluribus unum? Is it being consistent or stubborn? Does it come out of a sense of being true to one’s self or oneself? Does integrity matter?
I think it does. I think it is the key ingredient to facing your eyes in the mirror. We all err. We all have been hurt or hurt someone. If you are living, you are bound to make mistakes because the human being doesn’t come fully loaded with a moral creed, a sense of honor, a sense of wholeness and integrity that is inviolate. If we were a computer program, you could say we are vulnerable to hacking or being hacked. It is what you do after you recognize you’ve made a mistake. Words are all very well, but it is actions that determine what we will do next time.
If you are learning from mistakes you made, hopefully you will make less of that particular mistake going forward. Part of the definitions found under Integrity is a sense of wholeness. When we look to others to affirm our rightness or sense of self, it can only come through their own window of seeing. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then to surrender to others your sense of self is to give to others the power of who you are. But what if integrity is built from each and every decision you make? Victor Frankl said, “The last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances and to choose one’s own way.”
So, where do you find the code? Can you purchase it, borrow it, steal it? Sigh. Well, you could try one of those, but then you’ve missed the whole point. You build from within, minute by minute, by observation, reading, listening, learning what works and what doesn’t. You cannot live without one, it is just can you live with the one you built?