For a couple of years I have been working with integrity and what it means to me. I think for me it is being a person of your word. Believing in something and then having the strength to stand up for that belief is integrity. For many people integrity is the same as morality but I don’t feel it is. You can have the morals of a pirate but still have integrity. Where else would the saying “Honour among thieves” come from?
Perhaps another word for integrity is honour. I feel that is the closest synonym as it speaks to the righteousness of a person. What I do know for certain if that integrity means something different for everyone. That is why we are often so disappointed in other people’s actions because we measure them against our own standards.
An example in my life is the time I lent money to a very old and good friend of mine. He was having health issues and needed help. When he asked he told me that he would pay me back in six weeks as soon as his commission was paid out. Ignoring my intuition as well as my Mom’s words, “Never a borrower or a lender be” I went against my instincts and lent him the money. I felt certain that I knew him well enough and that he would never let me down. The main point that led me to going ahead was that I believed he had integrity. I believed him to be a man of his word.
I know that he sees himself as a man of staunch integrity. So that leaves me to believe that his standard of integrity is different from mine. That he obviously holds himself to a different code. I was also working from my own understanding of integrity. There have been times in my life when I have had to ask for help and I have always met my commitment within the time frame I said I would, so I expected him to do the same as he gave me his word. My word is my integrity… his is not.
To add insult to injury, when after two or three years of waiting for the money to be paid back I started asking, he blocked and unfriended me. I know I will probably never see that money and I have reconciled myself with that but I did learn a valuable lesson, not to trust that other people live their lives to the same code I do.
I don’t hold any grudges. Life is too short for that but I have definitely changed the way I measure people. So I ask the question… do you think integrity is subjective?
Love & Light