I Give Thanks For Integrity!
Confucius taught, “ The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”
I recently enrolled in a class on self-reliance at the church I belong to. For the past few weeks I have been learning about the importance of saving money, living within my means and keeping a budget, acquiring skills, talents or further my education to become more marketable, and how to establish and build a profitable business. It has been fun and enlightening. The classes are facilitated by a couple who help us follow the manuals which were provided to us at the beginning, show us videos of examples in the real world, and facilitate discussion among those of us in the class on how to face and solve eventual problems. Last Sunday, the topic was Integrity. One of my friends asked, “What Is Integrity, really?” My first thought was to wonder about why she would need to ask such a question in the first place. Surely she knows the answer, I thought. Don’t we all seek to behave with honesty?
Then, the friend facilitating the lesson had us turn to the manual. There, we were asked to rate ourselves on the following areas:
Do I keep all my promises and commitments?
Am I completely truthful in things I say and in the records I keep?
Do I exaggerate to make things appear better than they are?
Do I return everything I borrow and do not take things that do not belong to me?
Am I completely faithful to others in my words or actions?
Do I restrain from cheating even when I know I won’t be caught?
When I find something that isn’t mine, do I return it to its owner?
Do I always pay back the money I borrow?
Yesterday, as I gathered with my loved ones and counted my blessings, I was grateful for the opportunity I had last Sunday to learn the difference between integrity and honesty. Honesty has to do with facts. You are honest if you pay the exact amount you owe. You are honest if you always tell the truth as you know it. You are honest if you charge for a service you give the right and fair amount.
Integrity on the other hand encompasses much more than being honest, for integrity is about conduct. Integrity is more than being meticulous about keeping records, or honest in speaking the truth as you know it. To live with integrity is to make your behavior conform to internal rules you live by. Integrity is ruled by your belief system, it is holding yourself accountable to a higher standard and for a nobler reason.
As I said, I am grateful for my friend’s honest question last Sunday which helped me learn the difference between honesty and integrity, and put me on the path to become a person with integrity.
In this holiday season I wish for all of us to turn inward and seek to determine what are the rules we live by, what self-define us, what behaviors can we change to become people with greater integrity, and ultimately people seeking the greater good, for it is my belief that only then will we become a better nation, world and people.
This is just my opinion...
As a single woman, a Mormon, and a western/Chinese doctor.