WHAT IS INTEGRITY?
Integrity is defined as – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Moreover people of integrity display high moral uprightness, truthfulness and have the quality of projecting an aura of safety around them.
In this post we will demonstrate how to spot 15 observable traits of integrity in people.
Firstly I must say though that they do this whilst remaining strong and undivided in their opinions, whilst not being arrogant and dismissive of others. People showing a high degree of integrity are said to be of good character, honourable, noble, virtuous and completely trustworthy.
Secondly, from this brief list we can see that integrity is not something you can own or buy from a shop. It comes from within and is a life choice, therefore you simply can’t fake integrity or change it from day to day.
Thirdly and most importantly, integrity is not something that is held only by the rich or the those in society who go without want. I believe that you can find the most virtuous, upstanding, right-minded people of good character and high integrity in any level of society.
Look at the picture above and what do you see?
I see a poor indian boy who has a very little chance of a bright future ahead of him. He lives in extreme hardship every day in a world where he has become invisible to most people.
However he has not given up. He thinks not of himself but of his sister and how he has to be strong for her. Furthermore he treats her with love and respect for all that she does to help him no matter how ineffectual that may be.
Similarly, he instinctively trusts those who work with him, and the other people around him on the rubbish site as he claws out a meagre living.
Occasionally the opportunity to earn “a little extra” might come along from a stranger wanting a photo of this, his”meagre existence“.
This boy does not steal or beg, he does not complain and he stays true to himself.
To me this boy has the greatest levels of integrity and yet do you think he even knows what integrity is?
15 Observable traits of integrity
As I mentioned earlier, you cannot fake integrity because integrity comes from within and you have to live it. It’s a lifestyle choice. As a result this means that you can observe it in those around you.
The observable traits that you need to look for are:
A person showing true honesty will live this characteristic every day both in word and deed. When coming to this person you will know that whatever they tell you will be the honest truth from their perspective.
As such you will value their opinion, even if it’s not what you want to hear and you will be sure that it’s an unbiased view. Moreover, they will express their views openly even though it may be harmful or uncomfortable to them.
2.They live by a code of sound moral and ethical principles.
People with integrity think strongly about how their words and actions will impact other people, society as a whole and the environment.
Consequently people of true integrity govern all their behaviours around a set of positive values. These values are drawn from their ethical and moral beliefs and are very important to them.
They live by these values each day and look for them in those around them. It is said that they are very principled people and always looking for the good in others.
Authentic people are highly prized in society. You can be assured that with them it’s a case of what you see is what you get. Furthermore you can trust that others see and hear them as you do, even when you are not present.
They will never act like a chameleon, changing their views, actions or opinions to suit the person stood in front of them. Most noteworthy is their openness to debate and possibly expressing views which may make them unpopular with their audience.
A person showing authenticity will just …
4. Will take responsibility for their actions
In essence this means putting all other considerations to one side and acting on their closely held morals and beliefs. This is true even when there is a social, personal or financial cost to themselves.
People with true integrity will do this simply because it is the right thing to do.
5. Make their word their bond
They will keep their word even at great cost to themselves because they value it more than personal wealth. People of high integrity would say that to break their word would be to break a bond of trust, for them; that would be unthinkable.
6. Help others in need at whatever level
People of integrity actively see the good in others and in themselves and wish to share it. Often will be the absolute first to volunteer help, or respond to a request and will show no discrimination at all.
They will be driven by a sense of positive action being good for everybody concerned. Furthermore society as whole will benefit and they will personally feel a connection to their own humanity.
what price a man’s worth?
7. Being humble
A person with integrity will live their life by a strong moral and ethical compass and so will have few regrets to carry forward. They will be at peace with themselves and will not see a need to brag or show arrogance about it.
As Mother Teresa once said;
“IF YOU ARE HUMBLE NOTHING WILL TOUCH YOU,NEITHER PRAISE NOR DISGRACE,BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE”.
Being humble is sometimes seen by others as being weak, insecure or submissive. However, a person with true integrity does not judge it as an emotion. They judge it as a strength of moral character.
For a person of high integrity the word “honesty” means that they will always tell you the truth. This is true even if it’s not what you want to hear, or is hard for them to say. To them being trustworthy also means that they will always be the guardian of your honesty.
By which I mean that, people with integrity will never betray a confidence for personal or financial gain as it will wound their heart too deeply.
Or to put it another way;
“A GOSSIP BETRAYS A CONFIDENCE BUT A TRUSTWORTHY PERSON KEEPS A SECRET”. Proverbs 11:14 (NIV)
9.They treat strangers with trust and respect
Most people would say that strangers need to earn their trust and respect. In comparison however, a person of true integrity will freely give others their trust and respect on their first meeting.
This is because a person of integrity looks for the good in others on first meeting and so affords them the respect that a good person deserves. It is said that this is true of all the people they meet, and it’s not dependant on status or any other variables.
10. They believe in others
Once trust and respect has been given it’s time for faith to take over. Not the religious kind of faith but the all trusting leap of faith kind.
People with integrity can show the upmost faith and confidence in others even under difficult circumstances. They feel that if you genuinely have faith in them then they will not want to let you or themselves down.
11. They value the investment that others make in them
Whether it be another’s time, money or a personal thing gifted. A true person of integrity will always be respectful of their gift of it. They will do all that is in their power to use this investment wisely and then to “pay it forward”.
12. Being able to admit they are wrong
Being humble enough not to shout about your accomplishments is not the same as being humble enough to admit you’re wrong. The first is only a measure of your work, the second is personal, as it’s a measure of your character.
Admitting you are wrong shows you are flawed and allows others in to mock you, so is often seen as a weakness. Once again however, a person of integrity sees things differently and recognises it as a strength of personal character.
For a person of integrity they will see themselves as being wrong as an opportunity to place credit where it belongs. From this realization they will also grasp the opportunity to find improvement in themselves.
13. They keep negative emotions out of disagreements
People of integrity welcome debates but hate disagreements.
This is because a debate gives each party a safe place in which to argue/debate in a positive and passionate manner.
A disagreement in contrast to that, is often fully charged with negative emotions and only seeks to harm the individuals involved. True people of integrity would not think it necessary to start a conflict simply over a difference of opinion.
14. They forgive
People with true integrity know that perfection is just a dream and that we are all flawed and may fail. For this reason they will always admit their failures, apologize if found wanting and try to learn from their mistakes.
This gives them the ability to recognize that others have the same failings and so will not hold them to impossible standards.
When another fails in some way they will recognize the importance of forgiveness. In this instance they will lift them up and support them, understanding that this is what they truly need.
15. They are vocal in expressing credit to others
A person of integrity would never claim credit for more than was contributed by them. They would however be very vocal to all audiences about the positive contributions of others.
Similarly they will always be active and vocal in acknowledging the achievements of others no matter how small. Moreover they would never steal someone else’s thunder but would be more inclined to play down their own role in the achievement.
Are you a person of integrity?
In today’s modern society doing what is right and good is not always easy and it may seem as though you are alone in doing so but don’t give up.
If you can see yourself in the list of the traits above, then you can stand up to the critics around you. Moreover if you can stay true to yourself then you ARE a person of integrity.
People of integrity are highly prized and looked for so don’t give up the fight, stay true to your cause and inspire others to be as noble as you. Together we can improve our society.
Each one of us has a voice and has the power to change the world. Look to Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Joan of Arc, for your inspiration.
All these people were ordinary people. However their names are etched into our minds because they all believed in something and showed the strength of true integrity in a resentful world.
So what can you do today to make a difference?
Think of what it is that inspires you and then go out and do it. Don’t listen to those who will try to stop you. Listen to your heart, then fill your spirit with the integrity of your mind and soul.
There will always be the doubters but that didn’t stop our heroes so don’t let it stop you from living the life you wanted to. Start small then pick up a cause that will inspire those around you.
You can go plastic free, move to zero waste and change your energy source from fossil fuels to clean renewable green energy. All you have to do is believe.
Living a sustainable life is also possible and the planet is looking to people like you to change the way that those in power, think.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once said that;
” INTEGRITY IS ALWAYS DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD, REGARDLESS OF THE IMMEDIATE” CONSEQUENCES,”
So I say once again, don’t listen to the doubters ,haters or those who will mock you. Have integrity, show humility and follow your dreams.
They mocked John Lennon for being a dreamer but I say;
Let’s all bring a little John Lennon into our hearts and “IMAGINE.”
Some final thoughts to summarize this post:
The word integrity comes from the Latin integritas, meaning wholeness.
Common dictionary definitions of integrity would be:
- A consistent pattern of lived behaviours which demonstrates that one is living to a set of high socially accepted values considered to be of accepted moral worth within society.
- Expressing publicly views and opinions of one’s own moral opinion even when it may be unpopular to the audience.
- Always being truthful to oneself and others in actions and deeds as well as vocally.
- Putting all other considerations to one side and acting on one’s morals and beliefs even when there is a social, personal or financial cost to oneself to pay.
- Keeping one’s word even at a cost to oneself.
Integrity and Authenticity
It is often said that a person who is described as having integrity is also an “authentic” person.
That is to say that they are true to themselves and others and do not involve themselves in social politics. Nor do they involve themselves in gossiping or the telling of lies to suit a given situation or to save embarrassment.
The fifteen traits listed here today are all behaviours of people with high integrity and to display them shows authenticity.
Such behaviours are valued in society and have both physical and mental benefits for the individual concerned.
Physical and mental benefits of Having Integrity And Being authentic
If someone is being authentic and displays a high level of integrity then they are said to know their own mind. They are largely free from the stresses and worries in modern day society.
These people deal with social problems quickly and are not drawn into the darker side of social etiquette.
They are well liked by others, sought after for their company and encouraged to give their open and honest opinion. These attributes mean that they are less anxious, have a positive mindset and a calmer composure.
In the physical sense their blood pressure is lower, heart rate more even, immune system stronger and they are less susceptible to major health problems.
Mentally they are more aware, quicker thinking, happier and less prone to depression and mental disorders. Authentic, virtuous people in society displaying a high integrity factor are highly prized by groups of people.
Recent research has shown that belonging to a group of like minded individuals such as a choir or religious group can actually extend the average life expectancy by up to fourteen years.
To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. – William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys, would be amateur actor and green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.
He now has an army of followers who are like hearted individuals passionate about the environment and how to affect positive change through peaceful action.