As far as I know, English has no adjectival form of the word ‘integrity’. Whilst searching online, I found the options shown above, all of which seem rather clumsy and awkward. One suggestion for a person of integrity was ‘integrit’: ‘Bob proved he was a true integrit’. That just sounds uncomfortable.
It seems appropriate that a word which can be difficult to live up to is also difficult to use. The Collins English Dictionary defines integrity thus:
1. adherence to moral principles; honesty
2. the quality of being unimpaired; soundness
3. unity; wholeness
I love this word and strive to be able to apply it to my life. To me, integrity means that I have established a set of values and principles by which I want to live my life and, having done that, to always try to live up to those values and principles.
It’s that last bit that makes the concept of integrity tough: I can’t pick and choose the situations or circumstances in which I apply my integrity. I can’t say that it’s one of my values to help other people and then only choose to help those who can advance my career. If I see a need that I can meet, I have to meet that need whether or not it benefits me professionally or personally.
So it seems that our integrity is determined by our adherence to all our key values. It helps us to tie down those values and live consistently by them. If I’m to be a person of integrity, my internal values should be visible in my external actions. I need to take responsibility and follow through on commitments.
Whilst the second two definitions of integrity refers to other uses, I rather like them. If I’m acting with integrity, my decisions should be sound and I should demonstrate that my internal beliefs are in unity with my external actions. Sounds good to me.
I’m not suggesting this is easy or instant. Integrity is not something we can just pick up and put down whenever we feel like it – it’s going to take practice, discipline and continual re-evaluation. I’m not there yet but I’m happy to work towards it in my personal and professional life.
Over to you for today’s pebble: what does integrity mean to you?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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