Suppose I had a problem, and I needed to talk to someone about it. Would I select a person who you knew to sometimes be dishonest, or insincere; someone who was sneaky, or untrustworthy, or sometimes stole, or was even involved in illegal activities? Hardly. What kind of help could a person like that provide me that would be of any value? I would think of someone who possessed the quality of integrity. It could be a friend, a teacher, a coach, a minister or even a parent. But it would be someone I perceived to have integrity. Integrity is the quality of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty and sincerity.
It is an intangible; one characteristic of humans that separates us from animals. Integrity cannot be measured, or seen or touched, but it can be detected. And it can be demonstrated. People s actions, over time, show if they have integrity. How a person reacts to every day life situations show if that person has integrity, or lacks it. It is something that people notice daily.
For instance, students may be taking an exam and one student observes another cheating. It may be no big deal at the time, but the observer will file that bit of information about the cheater in each brain and know that the cheater is not a person with integrity. Not a person who can be trusted, but a cheater might be fun to hang out with, and a buddy. But not a person who you would depend on if you needed real help.
To have integrity humans, make a conscious decision. It is like that little cartoon devil that sits on one shoulder while the little cartoon angel sits on the other. When a situation arises in a person s life that requires him to make a choice the little devil tries to convince that person to do what feels good, what seems like fun, but what is the wrong thing to do, while the little angel tries desperately to sway the person to do what is right. And then the human chooses. Go with the devil and get some instant gratification, or go with the angel and feel good.
People with strong religious beliefs (or upbringing) often have an easier time choosing to have integrity, because most religious teachings are based on this quality. Does this mean that people who are not religious lack integrity. Not at all. Many people choose to do the right thing simply because they choose to be good people. And some people who attend church regularly lack integrity in their everyday lives.
Having integrity is a very personal choice, And a very important one. Being honest, sincere and of high moral principle is often difficult, especially for young people. I might be perceived by my peers as a nerd, or a geek instead of a fun-loving, daring, cool person who is popular. But young people grow up, having integrity becomes a very essential characteristic for existing successfully in the adult world. Plus, choosing to have integrity builds self-esteem. When I choose to do what I know is right, over what I would have fun doing for the moment, I feel good about myself.