Integrity is a quality that we all need if we want to succeed in life and make this world a better place. But, despite it being so important, a lot of people don’t know what it means. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of people ask ‘What does integrity mean?’ on forums related to happiness and self-improvement. It’s a good question that this article will hopefully answer. We will also talk about how you can develop your integrity to get to a point where it benefits your life in a big way.
What Does Integrity Mean?
In the simplest form, integrity means being good.
Integrity means being honest and being honorable. It means having strong morals that you live by. It means being fair and sincere in all of your dealings.
It may sound like a lot of work to develop integrity, but by simply focusing on being one of those things, you will find yourself easily mastering the rest of them because you can’t, for example, be fair and sincere and then be dishonest or bad. It just doesn’t work like that. When you know what the right thing to do is, and when you think in a kind and morally sound way, you simply can’t be a bad person. Your level of awareness won’t let you.
But let’s make it clear – integrity doesn’t just mean understanding what is right and wrong. It is an action that you carry out. In other words, you can understand what is right to do, but having integrity means you actually do what is right. You can choose to be dishonest in your life even though you know what is right.
What Does Integrity Mean For Personal Happiness?
Having integrity makes you feel good. There is something uplifting about doing the right thing, even when you could easily choose to do the wrong thing and have to exert much less effort.
Living with integrity is just like living with kindness. When you are kind to other people, the payback is that you feel good about yourself. You feel happier whether they do or do not respond kindly back. It’s the same with integrity. It doesn’t matter what the result is, you feel better about yourself when you choose to act from a place of integrity rather than dishonesty.
If you are struggling with self-confidence, then integrity can help boost it! Every time you do something right, you remind yourself of how powerful and strong you are. You can influence other people and the world around you in a positive way. You can make the harder choices, even when the easy choice is right there for you to take. That kind of power and strength makes integrity a quality that can change your entire life.
And, lastly, acting with integrity means you don’t have to keep all your lies straight! You don’t have to hide things or remember what you did or did not say or do. You simply get to be yourself and focus on better things in life, such as what you can you do to be happier or more successful.
The Value Of Integrity In Relationships
Because being honest and good is appealing to other people, it’s important for you to have integrity. It can win over friends, allies, and people who can help you succeed.
For instance, in your personal life, integrity will help you become respected by others. They will label you as someone who is honest and helpful and willing to do the right thing, and whether they say it or not, they will respect that. You will have much more success with personal relationships because of this, and you will find that people will come to you before others for help and companionship.
Also, in your close relationships with your family, friends, and partner, you will find a much stronger bond thanks to the quality of integrity. It makes relationships work smoother. It helps you take responsibility for your part in a bad relationship and find a resolution that will work for both of you. It helps you to be all those attractive qualities such as kind, patient, loving, faithful, understanding, and loyal.
That’s not to say that there won’t be down times. We are human, and sometimes we feel bad and do bad things when we are acting out of fear or anger. But integrity allows you to get through those hard times quicker and stop making excuses. It allows you to recognize the lack of honor in your life and gets you up and working on fixing the relationship.
The bottom line is that a person with integrity is going to live a much happier and fulfilling life with the people who are closest to them, as well as the people that they are acquaintances with.
What Does Integrity Mean For Your Work Success?
In your work life, integrity will go far! If you own a business, then your integrity will lead you to do honest things in your business and follow your moral principles. You won’t take shortcuts with your work. You won’t treat potential customers poorly. You will take into account customer’s needs and desires, and you will do what you can do make them feel good. And, all of these things add up to more success.
Any dishonest businessperson or employee will not last long in one place. They may start up several businesses or work at several jobs, but eventually, it will all fall apart. Their dishonesty will catch up with them and even if they’ve had big payoffs from their lack of integrity before, they will have a much bigger failure and setback once it catches up to them.
For me, businesses with integrity are the only companies I deal with now. If you think about it, there is always more than one burger joint or clothing store to deal with. Because of the choices we have today, a business with integrity stands out. It appeals to me as a customer, and it always wins over my business and money. A simple thing such as an honest answer or a kind reply, or a bigger thing such as going out of their way to make sure I’m happy, are things that speak of integrity and win me over for life. And any business who shows me a lack of integrity is off my payroll quicker than they can say ‘wait!’
How To Develop Your Integrity
If you don’t know where to start, one of the best suggestions I can give is to live by the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It doesn’t matter if you are out with strangers, at work, or at home. The way you want to be treated is with integrity, so thinking before you speak, act, or react, and choosing to do so in a positive way that you would appreciate, will help you act with integrity.
Following are four other ways to develop your integrity. The more you practice, the easier it will be to live a life governed by your morals and honesty.
1. Develop Yourself To Develop Your Integrity
Having integrity means having awareness. You have to be willing to take your head out of the sand, look around, and start to focus on personal growth.
The more you learn about yourself and the world around you, the easier it will be to carry yourself through each day with high moral standards doing the right thing. You will find it too hard to act out of selfishness or ego because you will become aware of how your choices and actions will affect other people.
Therefore, if you want to develop integrity, make a plan to work on your personal growth. I highly suggest you start in an area that you are struggling with.
For example, if you lack integrity in the workplace, then work on developing yourself in the workplace. Become a stronger team player. Work on learning more about how you fit into your workplace and how everyone else fits in as well. Work on appreciating your work and the people who are around you. The more you work on becoming a better employee, boss, or coworker, the better off you will be at work!
2. Take Accountability For Your Life
When you are busy blaming other people for your problems, it will be much harder to live a life with integrity. You will give up on being good because, in your mind, nobody else is being good. That will cause you to stoop to their level and be dishonest in your actions with yourself and with others.
But, when you take accountability for your life, you will boost your integrity because you will know that doing the wrong thing is what gets you in trouble and making the bad choices is what hurts your life in the long run.
For instance, making bad choices that will hurt other people but benefit you shows a lack of integrity. I’ve done it. I know how it affects your life in a negative way. I know how much it makes you feel bad about yourself and how it can ruin your relationships and success in all areas of your life. It just feels heavy and depressing to live in a state where you are willing to sacrifice other people’s happiness – even if it’s just a little – so that you can make a choice to do something for yourself. It’s much better to be honest, make the right choice, and keep your head held high. It feels much more rewarding, even if you don’t always get what you want out of the deal.
I find that karma is a real thing when it comes to both dishonesty and integrity. Doing something bad always comes back to you. You may lose something or experience a setback or feel negative, but you will always get paid back in a negative way.
On the other hand, doing something good and making the better choice will pay off, even if the reward is not immediate. Someone may remember your integrity and pay you back when you least expect it. Or, you may find yourself benefiting in a different and unexpected way. For instance, allowing someone to go ahead of you in line at the lottery counter could pay off in a big way if the ticket after theirs is a winner!
You just never know how your good deeds and living by your ethics will come back to you. But, the thing to remember is that your choices are what bring the good or the bad into your life.
3. Follow Through On What You Say
Doing what you say you will do is a great way to build integrity. Think about all those commitments that you make and then break. Each time you do, it breaks your integrity just a bit. People start to lose trust in you. You start to lose trust in you! Wouldn’t it just be better to do what you say you are going to do?
Make a commitment to be committed. If you say you are going to be somewhere at nine in the morning, be there unless something out of your control happens. If you say you are going to help someone, help them. And, if you tell yourself that you are going to start doing something good for yourself, do it.
The more you follow through on your promises, the more honest you will feel and the easier it will be to follow your ethics.
4. Make Integrity An All Or Nothing Thing
Lastly, don’t minimize things. Stealing a pen is still stealing. Stealing a dollar is stealing. Lying to someone just a little is still lying.
Integrity does not come in levels. Either you are living with integrity, or you are not. Therefore, don’t make excuses for yourself so that you can get away with something today. Doing wrong on any level will hurt your self-confidence and affect the way other people see you.
Moreover, don’t let other people decide how you will live when it comes to your ethics. You know what your moral principles are and you can’t let anyone dictate whether you will or will not live by them.
I used to have a friend who tried to break my integrity all the time. She would try to pressure me to do things that were dishonest and mean and totally against my ethics. When we were younger, I broke down a few times, and I felt horrible about myself. Once I was able to stand up for my morals, and clearly tell her that I was unwilling to do things that went against them, I felt much better about myself and my life got a lot easier!