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, I will quickly demonstrate how to spot the 15 observable traits of integrity.
To begin with, I must say that people with integrity are looked upon as good leaders. And they achieve this by being strong and undivided in their opinions without being arrogant and dismissive of others.
Or to put it another way, they never belittle another argument in order to raise their own.
In this way, people who show a high degree of integrity are said to be of good character, honorable, noble, virtuous, and completely trustworthy.
So, 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.
Another important point is that integrity is not something that is held only by the rich. Or those of us fortunate enough in society that we go without want.
I strongly believe that you can find the most virtuous, upstanding, right-minded people of good character and high integrity in all levels of society.
Look at the picture above and what do you see?
I see a poor Indian boy who has 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 people surrounding him on the rubbish site as he claws out a meager living.
Occasionally the opportunity to earn “a little extra” might come along from a stranger wanting a photo of this, his”meager existence“. It is at this point that the boys’ integrity refuses to let him be jealous and resentful of the stranger.
Instead, he sees his own self worth and smiles for the camera so that he can feed his sister.
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 that influences every decision that you will ever make.
However, as a result, just like the boy on the rubbish tip, if you look close enough 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 their view is unbiased.
Moreover, they will express their views openly even though it may be harmful or uncomfortable to them.
2. living 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 behaviors 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.
3. Being Authentic
Authentic people are highly prized in society. You can be assured, that with authentic people, 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. This is important as it remains true even when you are not present.
Authentic people 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 BE!
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. Their word Is 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.
And for them; that would be unthinkable.
6. Selflessly Helping others in need
People of integrity are active in seeking the good in others and in themselves. Goodness that they do not want to withhold, but would wish to impart upon others.
Often being the absolute first to volunteer help, or respond to a request. Furthermore, they will show no discrimination or complaint about the task or the people involved. They will be driven only by a sense of their positive action being for good of humanity and their soul.
Society as a whole will benefit and they will personally feel a connection to their own sense of self-worth.
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 this to others.
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. Treating strangers with trust and respect
Most people would say that strangers need to earn their trust and respect.
However, a person of true integrity will freely give their trust and respect to others. This is true even at their first meeting.
This is because a person of integrity looks for the good in others on first meeting. Firmly believing that a good person is deserving of respect and should not need to earn it first. Therefore they afford, them the respect that a good person deserves.
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 have been given it’s time for faith to take over.
Not the religious kind of faith but the all trusting LEAP into the unknown, kind of faith kind.
People with integrity can show te utmost 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.
People of true integrity 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 that you are flawed and allows others to mock you, so is often seen as a weakness. Once again, however, a person of integrity sees things differently and recognizes it only as strength of character.
For a person of integrity, when they realize that they are in the wrong, they will view that as an opportunity to place the credit on the person who is right. They will do this no matter what the personal cost, and no matter how much time has passed.
Being wrong might be seen as a flaw to some people. But to one with integrity, it is seen as a learning experience and a gifted opportunity to improve oneself.
13. Keeping 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.
People with integrity know that perfection is just a dream, that we are all flawed, and we may all fail. After all, no one tells their career advisor that their ambition is to fail in life and relationships.
For this reason, people of integrity will always admit and recognize their own failures and apologize if found wanting.
This gives them the ability to recognize that no individual is perfect 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, gift, is what they truly need.
15. 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.
Furthermore, they would never steal someone else’s thunder but would be more inclined to play down their own role in their achievements.
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, Is this 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 doubters.
But that didn’t stop our heroes so don’t let it stop you from living the life you want to. Be your own hero and a hero of integrity for others. Start small then pick up a cause that will inspire those around you.
All you have to do is believe.
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:
Need to deep dive into integrity? Here are 6 must-read books.
The word integrity comes from the Latin integritas, meaning wholeness.
Common dictionary definitions of integrity would be:
- A consistent pattern of lived behaviors 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 behaviors of people with high integrity and to display them shows authenticity.
Such behaviors 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.