When Your Integrity Is Threatened
Your integrity is threatened on a daily basis. Some of the threats are huge while some are as simple as taking the extra candy bar from the vending machine that fell in addition to your purchase. Yes, that candy bar is a threat to your integrity.
Your integrity is threatened most when wanting and needing are involved. Wanting more is a larger threat than needing more. When you want more, you tend to allow your hunger to swell for this thing (money, new car, bigger home, fancier clothes, etc.) and you make sacrifices of integrity to feed the hunger.
When someone begins to focus more and more on satisfying an appetite for something just for its own sake, he or she is in danger of becoming more obsessed with it. There is a real risk of letting it take over his or her character. If you think about it, most of the people that you know who have integrity problems are people who hunger for something and sacrifice everything of value to get more of it. They are not void of integrity just because they are bad; they are void of integrity because their hunger has become so great that they lose sight of the price they are paying to feed the hunger.
So, how do you keep your integrity intact when the elements of life are threatening it all the time? Consider the following tips when faced with threatening situations.
Keep the faith. Faith in what you know is just and right is a monumental tool in fighting threats against your integrity. Stick to your standards of what you know is the proper thing to do. Resist the opportunity to take advantage of situations just because you can.
Trust yourself. The heart may be a lonely hunter, but it is not a stupid hunter. You know your heart and you must trust in your own ability to do what is right. Do not rely on what others have done in the past, especially if you can see their errors or misjudgments.
Know right, and do right. The best way to fight a threat to your integrity is to understand what is right before the threat comes. This way, you will not have a clouded view of what is right when the threat arrives. Look around at how John Doe is treated and at how others treat John Doe. This is the greatest teacher for learning the lessons of “right.”
Keep your hunger in check. Don't let your desire for more or bigger or better or faster or prettier steal your integrity. Your hunger can be overpowering and can cause you to abandon your integrity in pursuit of fulfilling the hunger. Keep a close watch on what you want. It could cost you dearly.
Choose fairness. The word fair means that you are consistent with the rules of ethics, principles, and morality. It means that you will choose what is morally and ethically fair over what is easy and clean. Integrity is not easy work sometimes, but it is harder work to regain your reputation once integrity is gone.
Practice loyalty. Being loyal to others is certainly important, but being loyal to yourself matters just as much. One of the most painful lessons learned is when you are disloyal to your own value system, moral code, and ethical standards. It is damaging to your self-esteem to betray yourself.
Integrity is all about how you act and how you carry yourself in the world. Integrity involves your wholeness as a person, your words, your actions, your beliefs, and your attitudes. Integrity is about taking the road that is right versus taking the road for personal gain.
“The person of superior integrity does not insist upon his integrity; for this reason, he has integrity. The person of inferior integrity never loses sight of his integrity; for this reason, he lacks integrity.”
— Lao Tzu