We are all on different walks of life. Sometimes where we are at on this walk plays into how we form our conscience, our values, our philosophies, and where we are heading or where we end up. As we travel, some of us are in search of something more. Today, we are in search of integrity.
Since from when we are very young, we are taught to have integrity. We may not know it, but it is true. Remember the “it wasn’t me” or the “he (or she) did it” phrases? How about those stances, looking down at our hands or feet, knowing who did it all along?
I remember my parents and grandparents teaching me and my siblings to say thank you and please. They would not only encourage us but insist that we tell the truth and not lie. They tried to teach us the difference between tattling on someone for safety’s sake and keeping a confidence, yet to own up to our part in things.
When school started and the lines grayed between honesty and saving face, it became a confusing place. No longer were some of us dealing with the small community of only siblings and cousins. Now we were faced with peers from different upbringings, different philosophies, and different values. We had to learn who was telling the truth, who had our best interest at heart, and who wasn’t who they led us to believe.
For me, in the second grade, when faced with a bully in class that not only bullied me but almost every other person in class, I did something that I thought was for the protection of everyone. When it was discovered what I did, I denied it to the very end and lived with the horribleness of not being honest. My only recompense was that no one, as far as I knew, was ever bullied again.
In the eighth grade, when I let a new friend talk me into skipping class for the first time ever. We hid out in the girl’s room. Imagine our horror when our teacher walked in, hoping against hope that we wouldn’t be discovered. I lived with the dread of my deed all day and ended up in the nurse’s office for fear of being found out.
These experiences, and more, were all lessons that molded my character. And every weekday somewhere, other children are learning valuable lessons about integrity. Faced with choices of right or wrong, they will either stand up in the second grade, the eighth grade, or in the tenth or eleventh, and be honest. They will make decisions to protect others. And they will own up for their right or wrong decisions and feel good or bad about their choices.
Once we get into our work life, our values are tested even more so. During my early working life I was once told by a boss, who had been out of town, that a friend of his saw me at the local dealership earlier in the week. I told him I had been at the office and didn’t know who that other person was. It was true. We never spoke of it again, and he never treated me any different, but I always wondered if he had believed me.
There is a lot that I have learned over the years about having integrity. Being shy, it was difficult to exert myself as a person of integrity. Perhaps it was due to conflicting messages growing up, from other unknown reasons not revealed until later in life, or the fear of confrontation about having values. Whatever the reason, I have learned that it is far better to live with values of integrity, honesty and authenticity than to live in fear.
Once a month, I will blog about integrity in regards to our personal lives, work lives, and in the wider community; what it means to have integrity or not and what it means to walk that fine line between having personal integrity and wanting to have it. I will also dig a little deeper into what causes us to make the choices that we make rather than other ones. And, I will blog about the difference between integrity and the little white lie.
Until next time, think about ways you can have more integrity in your life. Start by looking up the definition. Then, look up quotes, books, and even songs about integrity. The more we educate ourselves on the character traits we want in our life, in this instance, integrity, the more we will like and respect ourselves. In the search for integrity, we are all on the same road; for many, we often are just taking different detours to get there.
Blogs are posted weekly, usually on Sundays, then the link is shared on other platforms including but not limited to Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook depending on the topic. Topics include: marriage, integrity, social media, and acceptance.
To check out my book, “HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within,” visit my books page or my Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/virginia.alice.crawford. Just click on All Formats for both e-book and soft cover options.
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“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” – W. Clement Stone