If I am not careful, this could be the week I decide the human race has gone to pot! I have been dealing with an utter lack of integrity with business people who promise things they know very well they can’t deliver. Is everyone in society following the role models of our leadership and deciding that keeping your word is an outdated value? Or is it just the real estate people, the appraisers, the contractors, the printers, the engineers, the mechanics, the telephone companies, the computer companies and – oh gosh – is there any end to this list?
Even some of the clients who come into my office in incredible pain and anguish that their relationships are not working leave with commitments to do the work and then return, somehow never having found the time. How did our priorities get so screwed up that it no longer matters that we don’t keep our word or stand in our integrity about much of anything?
Integrity is very real and tangible. Integrity is measurable and embodies such traits as: taking personal responsibility, keeping your word, being faithful in the little things, being honest, standing your ground for what is right, maintaining your honor and sense of virtue, being morally upright, making right choices and doing what you say you will do.
Integrity is also something you cannot pretend to have. You either have it or you don’t, and life circumstances will ask that you prove that you have it. If your core belief is one of integrity, your decisions will bear that out. If not, that too will become evident.
Is there anything worth trading your integrity for, even if you stand to lose finances, fame or friendships in the process? Whatever the price, integrity has greater value.
Webster’s defines integrity as “soundness, unimpaired, firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values, incorruptibility.” When you have a core code of ethics built around integrity and a moral or ethical dilemma arises, you must ask, “What is ethically and morally right and appropriate?” When you don’t, you grieve your own spirit and whittle away at your self-esteem.
My favorite story about Gandhi is one in which a mother brings her child to him from a long distance away and requests that Gandhi tell her child to stop eating sugar. Gandhi sends the mother away and asks that she return later. The mother does so somewhat disgruntled. She again takes this long trek, child in hand to Gandhi and asks again, ”Please tell my child to stop eating sugar.” Again Gandhi sends her away and tells her to return yet another time. This goes on. The mother is becoming angrier with every visit. Finally, exasperated, she returns for what she has decided will be the last time. This time Gandhi does as she requested and he tells the child to stop eating sugar. The mother is outraged. She demands of Gandhi “Why Mahatma did you make me return so many times on this long, arduous journey until you finally told my child this thing?” Gandhi, simply replied, “ I had not yet stopped eating sugar.” Neither have we.
It is interesting to me that the most valuable things in life are all things we cannot see. Love. Integrity. Honesty. Intent. Every decision we make either empowers us as spiritual human beings, or it moves us yet another step away from our own mastery. Self-esteem, self-respect and self-love all come from inside, not from the outside of us. No matter how much wealth we amass, no matter how many cars we have in the garage, no matter what size our stock portfolio may be, nothing about us will be remembered when we are gone except our level of integrity. There is no greater religion than integrity. There is no greater thing to which we should aspire than being a person of integrity – not in some things, but in all things.
Everyday we are greeted with a multitude of probabilities and possibilities. What might life be like if we each decided to chose that which makes us more, not less?
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013