February 12

Today's quotation:

Integrity is not a conditional word.  It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather.  It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a person who won’t cheat, then you know you never will.

John MacDonald

Today's Meditation:

We either act with integrity, or we don't.  It's really that simple.  There aren't levels of integrity, and we can't pretend that we're acting with integrity when we aren't and expect others to believe it.  It's obvious.  One of the most difficult challenges we can face is to act with integrity at all times, even if doing so may cause us to lose a sale or a contract, or even to lose a friend or a relationship.  But integrity is a quality that can help us to be happy with our lives because it can give us a very positive image of ourselves, and that's much more important than what others think about us.

Integrity means "wholeness," and it's very telling that when we act without integrity, we're splitting ourselves up, dividing ourselves against our own selves.  If I know myself as an honest person but I do something dishonest, then I create a strong dissonance that affects me in other areas of my life.  Can I talk to my wife or friends in the same ways if I know that I've done something dishonest--if I know that they trust me, but I've given them cause not to?

One of the most negative aspects of acting without integrity is that it so often leads to more problems.  I might have done something wrong, but I add to the issue when I lie about what I did.  Did I cheat on my taxes?  Most of us wouldn't admit to doing so if we did, and we would add lying to the equation if someone were to confront us about it.  It's easy to think about returning something if we break it immediately, claiming that it was broken when we took it out of the box, but doing so definitely compromises our integrity.

I want to live my life with integrity.  I sometimes fall short of doing so--I'll be the first to admit it.  But I know that with each year, it's easier to live with integrity because I'm less concerned with what others think of me and what I do, so I'm looking forward to eventually living with complete integrity, and enjoying the many benefits that will come with doing so.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of pressures might "force" us to compromise our integrity?

How might we be affected negatively when we do compromise it?

How do you define "integrity"?  Do you live up to that definition?

For further thought:

To have integrity one must be consistently honest and trustworthy in everything one does. . . . When you have integrity, people know you will do what you know is right. . . . It's knowing what you have to do without someone telling you to do it.  It is the core of a person's--and a company's-- reputation.

Dick Kovacevich

more on integrity



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