"That is a person of integrity." This expression could be equated to receiving a badge of honor. A statement that commands respect and anybody addressed in this manner can be proud. Then how could integrity be defined? I would say it is a synonym for "staying true to oneself". Something that is one of the most important, and at the same time challenging tasks in this present day. Let's take a closer look at why.
- First, many people have lost touch of who they really are. To have principles and to stand by them requires a deeper knowledge of who you are as a person. It's the basis for outlining the things you stand for, the things that are important to you, yet at the same time being conscious of and clearly defining the things you don't support or are against your beliefs.
- Being a person of integrity may cause you to appear rigid, outdated or inflexible to your surroundings. Society has changed significantly in the last 50 years. Many things that might have been considered unacceptable before are now the norm. And this in many different aspects of our lives, e.g. relationships, our perception of privacy, moral standards and so on. Therefore, refusing to adjust your moral compass could be viewed as being old-fashioned or unwilling to change.
- Having integrity requires a solid foundation. You need the right tools to build the foundation for the things you stand for. If you have not built the right foundation or built it on the wrong thoughts and information, you can never remain true to yourself. As your environment and opinions change, so will your opinions and beliefs because you don't have a solid foundation to stand on.
- Your integrity will have to stand the test of time. Who you are, what you represent and believe in will surpass this current day and age. Who you were as a person, your personality and moral standards are what people will remember even when you are gone. It will become your legacy. But to achieve that, these will need to be deeply rooted within you. Not something you have practiced, but be part of you.
Now that I have listed some of the things that may have made it more challenging to be a person of integrity, let's us explore why it is so important to keep building that "integrity-muscle". There are so many benefits of having integrity and staying true to yourself. A great explanation can be found in the Bible: "Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure. Do not turn away to the right nor to the left [where evil may lurk]; Turn your foot from [the path of] evil." PROVERBS 4:25-27 AMP
What I consider one of the greatest blessings of having integrity is that it takes away some of the insecurities we all naturally have, that shadow of fear not knowing how you will conduct yourself in a certain situation. Nobody wants to feel secluded or be the one singled out because they don't agree with the majority opinion but rather prefer sticking to their moral beliefs. Taking a stand can be uncomfortable or even scary. However, the good news is, because you are well grounded you will have more confidence to face the unknown. Why? Because you know that no matter what comes your way, those parts of your personality that make you a person of integrity will always keep your feet on solid ground.