In group values clarification exercises there are often individuals that claim “Integrity” as one of their core values. I have learned over time that I need to ask…How do you define integrity? There are so many different ways that people interpret this word.
Martha Beck’s new book “The Way of Integrity Finding the Path to Your True Self” draws us right into the meaning of integrity. Beck immediately examines the Latin root “integer”, meaning intact. “To be in integrity is to be one thing, whole and undivided.” Martha Beck invites into living a whole life, one of “meaning, enchantment and fascination”.
Beck guides us away from integrity through an exploration of Dante’s Divine Comedy and the dark wood. The dark wood, as she describes it, is a place of feeling purposeless, emotional heaviness, physical deterioration, career failure, and bad habits. A place with no integrity. Beck references these journeys to the dark word as our hell and back stories.
Is that how you would define integrity?
John O’Donohue explores integrity in his book The Invisible Embrace Beauty: Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity and Hope. O’Donohue references Thomas Aquinas who saw beauty linked to integrity. “Integrity is achieved when there is a complete realization of whatever a thing is supposed to be….Aquinas believed that goodness, truth and integrity belonged to beauty”.
No wonder I’ve been feeling the need for people to define how they define integrity! It’s a complicated noun. Or is it a verb?
How do you define integrity?
Take a look at these quotes below and pick the one(s) that best aligns with your definition of integrity.
- We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square. Michelle Obama
- Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. H, Jackson Brown Jr.
- Integrity isn’t a destination. It is a way of life. It is an internal guidance system that will never guide you astray!” Kelley Kosow,
- “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” Brene Brown
- “Image is what people think we are, integrity is what we really are” John Maxwell
- “As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” – Nelson Mandela
- “I believe in integrity. Dogs have it. Humans are sometimes lacking it.” Cesar Milan
- “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Integrity is the cure for unhappiness. Period.” Martha Beck
Now check in with yourself…
- How is your definition unfolding? evolving?
- How does integrity effect the quality of your life? How does it make you feel more whole?
- What’s your Hell and Back story? Where does integrity fit into your journey?