Living a Life of Integrity

by Brett & Kate McKay on April 7, 2009 · 52 comments

in A Man's Life, On Virtue

integrity

Image from Tobyotter

You’re a government employee and you hear of plans for a new shopping center and airport development. The price of property in the area is likely to increase sharply once public announcement is made. Should you tell your friend who owns property in the area and is planning to sell? Should you buy property yourself?

You’ve been really struggling in a class you need to pass to graduate. You studied hard for the final, but still aren’t feeling confident about it. Your friend took the test earlier in the day and offers to tell you exactly what was on it. Should you let him?

Your ex-girlfriend comes into town and wants to have a casual, friendly lunch. Do you tell your wife?

What would you do in the above scenarios? How long would it take you to decide? Integrity is one of those abstract qualities that we all wish to possess, but often find difficult to apply when it comes to real situations and practical dilemmas. What will we do when faced with questions like those above?

The word integrity is related to the roots of words like “integrate”  and “entire.” In Spanish it is rendered “integro,” meaning whole. Integrity thus implies the state of being complete, undivided, intact, and unbroken. Such a state contrasts with one that is scattered, fragmented, and incomplete. In writing this article, I was struck by the way in which integrity pulls together so many of the other things we have discussed on the Art of Manliness. Integrity is really the bond that holds a man’s other virtues together; it is the mark of a man who has successfully integrated all good principles. His life is a unified whole.

Why Live with Integrity

It’s Easier

It may not seem like it at first blush, but living with integrity is easier than living a deceitful life. While making unethical decisions is often easier in the short term, it eventually takes its toll. There’s no real happiness to be found in struggling to remember your lies, living in fear of getting caught, and not feeling like you truly earned your reward. It’s empty and stressful. Bernie Madoff may have lived high on the hog, but did he really enjoy his wealth knowing that one day his house of cards would collapse? Living with integrity brings wholeness and peace. Your conscience can rest easy, and you can look at yourself in the mirror with pride.

It Builds Trust

A man of integrity is a man others can count on. They know he will do what he says he will do. He is promoted at work because he can be trusted with greater responsibility. His wife knows that when he says he’s working late, he really is. His friends feel comfortable opening up to him and turning to him in times of crisis. When you choose to live with integrity, all of your relationships will be healthier, stronger, and more satisfying.

It Serves as a Basis for Value Judgments

The questions given above raise some sticky issues. Every day we are faced with similar dilemmas. A commitment to live a life of integrity allows you clarity when you have to make hard choices. You won’t be at war with yourself over which path to choose. Instead, you’ll experience the confidence that comes with having every aspect of your life knit together in a unity of purpose.

Practicing Integrity

Living a life of integrity is a daily process that’s doesn’t end until your life does. Here are some ways to develop integrity:

Decide now, not later. Many men have not thought through their personal value system. They’re not sure who they are or what they stand for, and they wait until the breaking of a crisis to make their decision. At that point, it’s too late. Faced then with great pressure, you will be more prone to take the route which is easier in that moment. Decide now what you will and will not compromise on. Then, when faced with ethical choices, the decision will have already been made.

Quit the rationalizations. There’s always a million reasons to compromise your integrity. You hear them on the news every day as corporate bigwigs struggle to justify their fat bonus checks. You can always come up with justifications that seemingly make good sense and let you sleep better at night. But at the end of the day, when you place your rationalizations on a scale next to integrity, you’ll realize you sold out something priceless for a measly pittance. There’s nothing more valuable than your good name and the ability to look at yourself in the mirror each day with a clear conscience.

Don’t take the first step. When a great man falls from grace, we often wonder how he could have ever messed up so royally. The truth is that he didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit an egregious blunder. It started with a little fudging here, a tiny bit of lying there. From there he just kept on sliding down the slippery slope of compromise. Don’t compromise on the little things, and you won’t on the bigger ones.

Don’t justify the means for the end. This is probably the most popular rationalization for breaking with your integrity. In reality, the journey towards an accomplishment or decision is just as important as the destination itself. Even if you are richly rewarded at the end, if you cannot look back on the means used to get there with anything but shame, your victory will be hollow indeed.

Take personal responsibility for you life. At the heart of integrity is the ability to own up to the fact that you are in control of your life. You are responsible for both your successes and your failures. Nobody else but you.

Living a Life of Integrity

Integrity is a value that we should strive for in all areas of your life. Here are some of the areas and situations where it should always be applied:

Integrity Within Yourself

I once read an acquaintance’s blog in which he wrote of running into someone at a bar and struggling to remember what story he had told her about himself. Apparently, he enjoys telling people that he meets at bars and such that he is different people-a pilot, a doctor, a soldier, etc. He said that it sometimes gets hard to remember who he told what.

While this is an extreme example, how many men do you know who act like social chameleons; they are a different guy with you, a different guy at home, a different guy at work, a different guy when traveling, ect. Instead of being a single self, they live as multiple selves, transforming into who they think each group wants them to be. William James, the philosopher and psychologist, said that men have “as many different social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares.”

Even if you aren’t outright lying like my acquaintance, turning on some alternate persona in different situations can be exhausting. You end up feeling fragmented and confused as to who you really are. No relationship should require you to pretend to be someone you’re not. If people don’t like who you really are, why would you want to be friends with them in the first place?

The first step towards integrity is being honest with yourself. Be who are. Say what you mean. Do what you say you will do. Don’t just walk the walk; talk the talk.

Integrity at Work

  • Put in 40 hours of work for 40 hours of pay. You’re getting paid to do a job, not goof around. There are of course exceptions; you may be done with one project and have nothing to do until you get your next assignment. But if you’re supposed to be working on something, you shouldn’t be watching March Madness games.
  • Don’t take credit for others’ success. Never take someone’s idea and pitch it as your own. And don’t jump on a wagon at the end of a successful ride that you didn’t contribute to.
  • Be transparent. Make your deals as transparent as possible. Don’t leave out things that the other party is going to hate you for later when they figure out what they really signed.
  • Don’t steal supplies. Yeah, the corporation you work for doesn’t pay you enough. And yeah, no one is going to miss that box of paperclips. But it’s still stealing, buddy.
  • Avoid situations where you’ll have a conflict of interest. If you’re caught in something that prevents you from making completely honest decisions, get out.
  • If your company pressures you to make unethical decisions, walk away. It’s not true every man has a price; a man of integrity prizes his character above monetary security. Is it possible to make it in your career field while having true integrity? Yes, but only if you’re the best at what you do. You’ll always need to be a cut above the guys who take shortcuts to get ahead.

Integrity in Your Romantic Relationships

  • Be an open book. Don’t keep secrets from your significant other. Even if the secrets don’t affect her, if she finds out you’ve been keeping stuff from her, it will erode the trust between you.
  • Avoid emotional cheating. Having integrity in regards to physical cheating is a given. Harder is avoiding emotional cheating, a straying that seems more innocuous at first, but easily leads to the corporeal variety. If you find yourself sharing more of your thoughts and feelings with a female friend or co-worker than you do with your wife, it’s time to take a big step back.
  • End a relationship when you know it’s over. If you’re dating someone and have reached the point where you know you two don’t have a future together, don’t keep dragging her along because you’re afraid to end things. Break up with her like a man.

Integrity with your Friendships

  • Keep your promises. Always, always follow-through with the things you have said you will do. A man’s word is his bond. If you tell your friend that you’ll hang out with him, and then the girl you like invites you over–too bad. You already made other plans.
  • Don’t talk smack about other people. Saying something behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face shows a distinct lack of integrity.
  • Be the vault. When friend trusts you with confidential information, lock those secrets away. Nothing erodes a friendship faster then a breach of trust in the secret department.

What does integrity mean to you? What are some other situations in which a man must show true integrity? Share your thoughts with us.


{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nate @ Debt-free Scholar April 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I agree, and open life is much better than a life of lies. A life of integrity is better for your career life, your family life and every other part of your life.

Thanks,
Nate

2 amit April 7, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Geat article.
One more relevant point for integrity at work could be the sycophancy which many men seem to have really mastered. I have seen lot of men resort to sycophancy to cover up their incompetence. I really find very few men who don’t resort to sycophancy, and when i ask most of them say its necessary to ‘survive and get promoted’.

3 Mike April 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Great Article,
I try to follow these seemingly simple guidelines of life but it’s difficult sometimes. I think we all folly from time to time.

4 Mike April 7, 2009 at 7:54 pm

You’re right Amit, the guy laughing at the bosses bad joke just kills me.

5 Adam Paul April 7, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Great article – thank you for writing it. Your paragraph about living a life of integrity being easier than living one of deceit rings very true. Perhaps harder short-term, but invaluable long-term.

6 Nick April 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I like how you guys write about the virtues of life without making it religious. I’m not a religious guy, but I still strive to live a good life, and it’s hard to find stuff about good principles that doesn’t get preachy and churchy. I really appreciate posts like this.

7 Tim Dodd April 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Great article,
along with taking responsibility for your failures, I think another good point would be forgiveness. Not just asking for it when you fail, but giving it to others who ask for it. Being unforgiving can poison one’s attitude, not only toward that particular person, but if given enough time could effect other relationships also.

Another might be giving your best effort all the time. Integrity doesn’t come to mind when I see a man slacking off and doing a halfhearted job.

To expound on to your “Decide now, not later” idea, I would say that a man of integrity is a man of principles, a man of conviction. He should be firmly planted in his world view and morals, unwavering.

Proverbs 10:9 says:
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.

8 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin April 8, 2009 at 1:48 am

Solid principles, that could be taken straight out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Particularly:

Learn what’s right and wrong beforehand.
Honesty is always better and easier than deceit.
Work as hard as your job allows.
Avoid situations that tempt you to dishonesty and/or corruption.
Don’t gossip.
NO GOOD CAN COME THROUGH EVIL MEANS.

9 lou April 8, 2009 at 3:12 am

“If you tell your friend that you’ll hang out with him, and then the girl you like invites you over–too bad. You already made other plans.”

Not only is that the right thing to do, it will also make her like you more…so it’s really a win-win situation ;)

10 Jason April 8, 2009 at 3:30 am

Did anyone else see the movie “Redbelt”– I know it was just a movie, but this article reminds me of the movie.

11 Brian April 8, 2009 at 3:59 am

I love this blog. These articles keep getting better and better. This is web surfing I DON’T feel guilty about.

12 Scott April 8, 2009 at 4:48 am

Good stuff

13 Susan Walsh April 8, 2009 at 5:02 am

I would like to second what lou said:

“Not only is that the right thing to do, it will also make her like you more…so it’s really a win-win situation”

Amen to that. Both women and men can fake it for a while with a person who lacks integrity. But behaving honorably towards a person increases their trust and affection; two necessary components of love.

Great post. Gonna link to it!

http://www.HookingUpSmart.com

14 Steve April 8, 2009 at 5:19 am

I agree that integrity is important at work, but i have noticed that when it comes time for promotions and advancement educational status ALWAYS trumps integrity and virtuousness.

15 Kristiyan April 8, 2009 at 5:19 am

Don’t say, “Sorry.” if you believe what you did was the right thing to do!

Keep your integrity, if you believe you’ve done the right thing and you can justify your actions before yourself, don’t say “I’m sorry for it.” to someone who doesn’t think you are right or otherwise plays ego games with you. Don’t explain yourself, you owe nobody explanation as of why you did what you considered the right thing to do.

16 AnOminous April 8, 2009 at 5:21 am

You’re kind of forgetting that it is completely natural to adapt to one’s surroundings, and that includes people.
I don’t know a single person who is not completely different, almost to the core, depending on who he is with. I think that is just human nature, the part of us that aims to please – why is this wrong? Its not like changing core values. And opinions are meant to change, how else can we manage to formulate the most intelligent one if not by trial and error?
The model of integrity you describe doesn’t sound like a very sociable person (or one to hang on to his job).

17 Greg M April 8, 2009 at 6:20 am

Great article Brett.

I think there is one more key facet to integrity – humility. This is not to say that we should not have ambition and a desire to achieve greatness, it’s just that a true sense of modesty within the purpose must be part of that to maintain integrity while achieving the highest levels of success.

18 Jack McNiel April 8, 2009 at 6:45 am

Outstanding Post!

Excellent thougths and application. Let me just add, by way of summary, these words penned by King David:

Psalms 15:1-5 “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved…”

Verse 4 gives one of the best definitions of Integrity, “he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not…”

19 Gilbert Marlowe April 8, 2009 at 7:17 am

I was recently laid off from a job that had been highly stressful. One of the shining moments came when I overheard my wife telling her friend that I was one of the most honest men she knew. No matter how bad things I got, I was able to look myself in the mirror and look her straight in the eye. You can’t put a price on that.

Take care, y’all!

20 Richard Albistegui-DuBois April 8, 2009 at 7:17 am

An excellent article, and I agree with virtually all of the points made.
I do think that AnOminous has a point, in that all people do vary their persona somewhat based on who they are with. I agree with him (assuming AnOminous is male, and my apologies if that is incorrect). Changing one’s behavior to meet the etiquette of a situation is appropriate, and not a violation of integrity; one’s behavior at a basketball game can be different from one’s behavior in a corporate meeting.
I suspect what the author of the article meant, though (and I’m sure that AnOminous did understand this) is that changing one’s core principles based on the situation is not a sign of integrity. The notion that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is a good example of what I think the author meant–that being willing to behave dishonorably when one is with dishonorable people, only to revert to pious nobility at church, is more hypocrisy than integrity.

I would love to see a discussion of situations in which there might be multiple conflicting demands on a person, and the proper course of action is not entirely clear. For example–let’s say one has accidentally (through no improper means) come across insider information that indicates that a particular business is about to do something which will cause its stock to fall dramatically. You have a large proportion of your family’s college fund invested in that company’s stock. Is it proper to sell that stock based on that information, which in theory you are not supposed to have?

21 STC April 8, 2009 at 7:18 am

How should a man deal with the following seemingly incompatible principles:
Integrity in Your Romantic Relationships: Be an Open Book
Integrity with your Friendships: Be the Vault

Some kind of balance needs to be reached.

22 Jack McNiel April 8, 2009 at 7:43 am

I believe what he means by being an open book is that we do not keep secrets about our SELF from our spouse. Being a vault with a friend’s secrets means that we do not reveal to others, including our spouse, what our friend has confided in us- because these “secrets” do not belong to us, we are only custodians of what belongs to another.

23 Richard Albistegui-DuBois April 8, 2009 at 7:51 am

I agree, Jack. Although there can be some level of conflict between those two; if some female friend told me in confidence that she had strong feelings for me, I might feel obliged to share that with my wife.
My general assumption with others is that I can assume anything I share with them will be shared with their spouses unless I specifically ask them not to do so. Likewise, I generally feel free to share things others have told me with my wife unless asked not to do so (although for something really sensitive which did not concern her, I probably wouldn’t bring it up).

24 Frank April 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Overall a nice job on integrity but isn’t the line about “corporate bigwigs struggle to justify their fat bonus checks” a cheap shot bordering on a violation of “Don’t talk smack about other people.” Can we really know how hard the average bigwig works and the sacrifices they make. Even in the recent AIG case at least one bigwig wrote to the NY Times that his unit was profitable and had nothing to do with the downfall of his company. He stayed on at $1 per year salary to help with the recovery of the company and the bonus was his only compensation. He resigned from the company and is donating the bonus to charity. That sounds like a man of integrity to me.

25 Adam April 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Living with integrity as a High School junior surrounded by people who cheat on tests and lie in relationships frequently is quite a challenge. I think I manage to do it modestly. I find however, that when attention is drawn to the fact that I often work harder and with more integrity than others I get a negative reaction from people.I feel embarrassed when this happens, but I know what I do is right and I get over it.

I have an extreme challenge for me that I wanted to get some response to. When living a life of integrity and honesty, I find it very difficult not to develop a pride that is almost narcissistic. Such a pride can actually be damaging to living a life of integrity. So, I should ask the rest of you:

How do you deal live a life of integrity without developing a belief that you are superior to others?

26 Marc Cobb April 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Hey Brett,

Long time reader, first time commenter. I just want to say, Thank you! As Brian says above, your articles (and those of your guests) continue to get better and better and resound in my head and life long after reading them. It is so refreshing to read these articles and then the comments of the readers afterwards.

In any case, very well written article. Well thought out, and I especially find value in your points about where you work. I have been in those situations where others may not even be doing completely deceitful things, but they deign to ignore this person in customer service or that person in accounting because of their accent, or their weight, etc etc. I just ignore that and say hi anyways, why wouldn’t I?

Another easy example: I was at the Post Office the other day, at the counter finishing up. A somewhat elderly woman walked up to the counter and asked the postal worker if they had a cart of some kind as she had a few heavy boxes to bring in from her car. There were at least 10 people in line as well as 2 workers behind the counter. The worker told her “no” and looked annoyed. Not a single other person said a word as the woman started walking out. I was shocked and hurried over to her, offering to bring her packages in. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but to bring up how unbelievable it was to watch an entire room of people not even offer to help this woman with 2 little packages. In less than 2 minutes I was back on my way. Sad when we can’t even help out our fellow neighbor like that.

27 Brett April 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

@Frank-

I disagree that the line about corporate bigwigs was a cheap shot. While there are certainly exceptions, there are dozens of corporate executives out there that directly contributed to our economic downturn, and nary a one of them has owned up to being at fault or apologized for their mismanagement of affairs. These are the men I was directing that comment to; to me they represent a blatant lack of integrity. Also, the “don’t talk smack” section was under the “Friends” heading; one shouldn’t talk behind a friend’s back but criticism of public figures is not only okay, but can often be prompted by one’s integrity.

I had read that column by the AIG executive that you cited. And I thought he made a good point. But then I read Frank Rich’s column on Sunday, and thought he made a better one:

“The only group more out of touch remains bailed-out Wall Streeters. “The era of this high living, this is over now,” said Ben Bernanke on “60 Minutes” last month. For whom? Witness the former A.I.G. executive who recently complained on the Times Op-Ed page about being unfairly tarred for corporate outrages he didn’t commit. He didn’t seem to understand that his (to his mind) unfairly maligned bonus — $742,006.40 (net) — would have amounted to $0 had American taxpayers not ponied up more than $170 billion to keep A.I.G. from dying.”

28 Brett April 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

@Marc-

Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing that story. I’ve had some bad experiences with post office employees, but it’s shocking that no one else in line stepped in to help either. It’s good to know there are other men at there living with integrity. Keep it up and hopefully it will rub off on others.

29 Brett April 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm

@Adam-

I’m happy to hear that there are young man like yourself living with integrity and reading AoM. You sound like a guy with a good head on your shoulders.

As far as your question about living with integrity without feeling like you are better than other people……what helps me is trying to sympathize with where other people are coming from. A lot of the people who don’t live with integrity aren’t bad people at their core, they come from homes where they weren’t taught good principles by their parents and don’t generally have mentors to show them the way. This is not to say that they’re without fault, but a lot of people have struggles that you’ll never know about when you meet them in passing. Keep leading by example and you never know who you may influence.

30 Mario April 9, 2009 at 10:43 am

Thank you, again, Brett! Your article came at the exact moment I was reflecting on my work behavior (and searching for sin in my life). What a sword through the heart! Especially the part about 40 hours work for 40 hours pay. I was doing my stuff on the clock and giving work my leftovers! Today I decided not to. Wow was my productivity increased. Thank you.

31 Timothy April 9, 2009 at 10:19 pm

As a young student and bartender the biggest compliment I have recieved is when I was accused of cheating at work. Everyone of my co-workers took my side.
That is something money can’t buy! Honesty is the way forward. Its certainly not easy, its far easier to hide behind a front but you cannot be more than one person, no-one can. Having integrity and being truthful to yourself and others around you may not seem glamorous but its the right thing to do.

Girls love it too!

32 Ali H. April 11, 2009 at 6:10 am

Values, morals, ethics….gee, what are those? Great article! My husband has found himself at the short end of the stick more than once for his refusal to compromise his integrity. But he can look back and be satisfied that his conscious is clear.

33 Christatos May 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The way of the gentleman. Too few have walked this path in all days. People tell me today that young people are the problem, but I know a great many from my generation who would slouch their way around this path if they could. The way of proper living should be taught in school.

34 Boris B. June 12, 2009 at 5:07 am

“Don’t take credit for others’ success. Never take someone’s idea and pitch it as your own. And don’t jump on a wagon at the end of a successful ride that you didn’t contribute to.”

I’m fine with this point, but what when others are doing it with your ideas ?

What when you find your wife is cheating on you ? How do you break up then ? I see revenge is not really the right path, but what do you do if others are trying or in face are humiliating you ? How do you meet humiliation ?

35 Rob January 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm

There’s no better a defense of integrity than “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand.

36 Rob January 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Incidentally the article, while good, focuses too much on honesty, which is just one aspect of integrity. They’re not synonyms.

37 DKC October 15, 2012 at 6:10 am

Honesty + Justice + Benevolence + Courage + Moderation + Humility = Integrity

(Benevolence is an act of kindness done because it is the right thing to do. Not due to pity for the person; or doing it because of what you may get out of it. An action done without regard to fulfilling a sense of altruism or public acclaim.

38 Anshul Sharma October 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Superb Article
Complete in itself

39 Ralmon November 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

A great article!

In a way, as I read it somewhere, we have three kinds of identities. The first identity is what other people thought you are. The second is what you are. The third is what you dream you are. That is you have a public identity, a private identity and an ideal identity. When these three identities are close to each other then you have great integrity. When they are not, then you have little integrity.

Many people put out false public identity, a con man. These people say they are not married, or they did something great, or they are someone important, etc. They don on identity to get what they want from the people they don their identity for.

There are many people who have “secret” instead of “private” identity. They pretend to be good and trustworthy to the public but really they are not. People like Savile, Newt and even Prince Harry, tries to persuade people publicly that they are good, that they care, etc; but out of sight they are the opposite.

The ideal identity is the one you want to be. We want to be is a great person, a hero, etc. with all these ideals and virtues. But many people let go of their ideals and loose their way… and loose their dreams.

These three identities are not separate as many believes. There can only be one you. Strive to unify the three parts of your identity. Let it be that how other people see you, what you see in yourself and what you dream to be, be one and the same person: you.

The only thing I would not do from Brett’s list is about being your friend’s vault. Well, I would keep impersonal secrets like passwords or PIN’s but not something personal, things that I should not be hiding if it was me. Things like he is seeing his ex girlfriend, or he is going to prostitutes or he is using drugs, etc. If you do keep them, it’s like you are turning a blind eye. Keeping secrets like these would not help your friend in the long term.

40 Charles B. Moore February 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Men of Integrity,

This is some interesting information. And too this is what we should be as a society. Look up the phrase “word of God” in the Bible and you may begin to understand this meaning integrity all the better. Thanks for this positive information for people to see… Have a good evening.

Buddy

41 Teresa March 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I hope more people read this. They are situations most people don’t consider. I feel I was dragged along, that he wasn’t an open book at all, and it turned into a cycle…terrible. Lesson learned, dump someone when when they compromise our integrity.

42 Judy May 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

I agree, and as we know, scripture is the best place to learn about integrity as Buddy stated.
After going through two divorces, I have to comment on what the writer said about ending a relationship; If both people are an open book, which they should be in a relationship, then there should be no need to end a relationship, if so, then there should never have been a relationship, since it would be irresponsible to enter into a relationship with someone who is not suited for you. Love is giving, not taking. In my situation, I was the open-book. Some people only want you to see what they want you to see, and they hide their secrets as long as they are able. That is emotional fraud.

43 Major August 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

So I guess this is going to be a first step.
I have not been a good man. I lie, cheat, steal, sabotage, plot, scheme, worry, calculate, etc etc etc.
Is it possible to rebuild integrity at an advanced age or have I gone too far beyond any hope of coming back?
I’m tired of this way of things and I want to change.

44 Walter August 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I had to read this article because I ordered take-out and the server hands me my meal without ringing me up. I guess the place was soo busy, it slipped passed her mind. In that moment, I had to decide whether I was going to live with integrity or not. I fought the demons in my head and approached the cashier and said, Id like to pay for this. To me integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. Sometimes I look out my window at 2am and I see soo many people blow the red lights in the intersection. Those drivers have no integrity. I feel good after reading this article because it assured me that I did the right thing. “There is no such thing as a free lunch”

45 Emenonye September 2, 2013 at 3:41 am

Am really a beneficiary of this article…. Can’t wait applying integrity in all i now do even in the way i walk.. Thank u sir

46 Naomi September 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

Teresa, Judy, I can relate. Lies, secrets, disrespect, false promises etc… This is an excellent article for all beings. I pride myself for my high integrity. I chose a man who had none. I was a victim of ‘emotional fraud’, as Judy puts it. I chose wrongly, and I take responsibility for that, even if it was partly unconscious. Never again shall I compromise myself to help another. Note to Major: If you want to change and believe you can change, then seek help, and practice change, and it will happen – with a lot of work, self-honesty and finally self-forgiveness. A long process, but worth it for the rest of your life.

47 Jim December 7, 2013 at 12:37 am

Integrity is being unwilling to sacrifice your virtue no matter the cost. The virtue i am referring to isn’t the many that are commonly listed(i.e. patience, honor,etc.), but rather a singular disposition that is defined as a person’s ability to perform a duty(a task that relies on self-constraint to deny our umoralistic impulse and not an external constraint). Virtue doesn’t come from something that is done habitually but rather at the first action taken in a new situation. It’s easy to act like you have integrity when you do it over and over, but the real test comes when you are inclined to take the “low road” and instead choose the tougher option, the road with a moral foundation.

48 Laura February 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

I enjoyed reading this article so much, and subscribe to all that is stated therein.

Integrity is a quality I naturally seek and value immensely in people. The key components of integrity are loyalty, honesty and trustworthiness. If any of those are missing, the person has no integrity.

What is sad is that so many people who say they have integrity in fact don’t have, and are unable to see it.

My Father embodied all that was necessary to be called a man of integrity, and what is great about that is that not only did I learnt from him what it is to be a person of integrity, but because HE was one I believed that there are other men in the world who have integrity.

The down side of that is that because of the kind of man that my Father was, he set the bar with regards to how a man should be (or a friend, even). Only a man with my Father’s integrity will ever be good enough for me, and they are not easy to find – but one tends to keep looking, and you never stop the search.

However, reading some of the replies to the article, I know that there are men out there who are exactly that way, and it’s nice to be proved right!

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