Definition of integrity

1firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values INCORRUPTIBILITY

2an unimpaired condition SOUNDNESS

3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided COMPLETENESS

I’ve danced around the integrity pole, and we’ve batted around definitions, but is integrity one of those things that you can’t define, but know it when you see it?

For example…

Say Congress passes a law. They know the law is seriously flubbed, and that they will have to repeal it in about five years or less because it will hurt people that shouldn’t be hurt. But they pass the law anyway. Are they doing their job with integrity?

If you lie to someone to save them pain, are you acting with integrity?

If you get in a cab and find a 20$, do you give it to the cabby so he can track down whose money it is? If you keep it because you figure it’s lost already, can you still be said to act with integrity?

What does it really mean to act with integrity?

What are examples of things done with integrity, and things done without it?

64 thoughts on “Integrity

  1. I think integrity is what is in your heart. It can’t be faked, And integrity is acting on what is right, not on what is easy. It would be easy to shove the $20 in your pocket but …!
    Passing a law that will hurt some people? If they are doing it just for votes, rhey don’t havs integrity!
    If you lie to protect someone’s feelings you have to think about the consequences down the road. Is it something small like their new hairstyle or something about their fiance? A broken engagement would cause pain but it would be better than a broken marriage.

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    1. I think in certain things, integrity is easier to define. But if you tell someone a half truth…the person telling the half truth might really have the best of intentions…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True! I think we need to ask ourselves the question, can I live with myself if I say this or don’t tell this. If you have the best intentions and really mean well, to me that is integrity. We know in our heart when we are doing something wrong, right? Or is that a whole other topic. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Integrity is connected to trust, no? It is for me.

    Also, knowing your word is good, which is related to trust. Can you believe them when they say they will do something? If you are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt he or she will act as they say they have integrity.

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  3. I associate the word and action with the first definition- the clear intent to act in a moral and ethical way. To be truthful in everything you do…pragmatic me thinks integrity is a dying art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you about it’s slow but sure death. I see people committing what are considered petty crimes and getting away with it, and being applauded for it. And it costs society in many ways in the end

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Integrity is a cherished word. I believe I have integrity most of the time. I realize now that my children are grown, that I raised two men with integrity. And I get disappointed when I discover people I care about not having enough integrity. But I truly believe that that word is filled with compromises.

    In my youth, (the turbulent, wonderful 1960’s and 70’s), Integrity had a narrower definition. I marched, protested, would have died following my mission to end the Viet Nam war, tried to get equal pay for women, and equal rights for people of color. I was too naive back then to even know about, or understand the gay and trans communities or I would have fought for their rights too. Looking back I now realize that I was a sheltered upper middle class suburban kid. I wanted everyone to have what I had. So I tried to make that happen. By definition I had integrity for a teenager. .

    As a young mother, I answered my children’s questions truthfully, but left out things according
    to their age. ( example: taking a child to the pediatrician you don’t lead with you might be getting a shot in the arm. You say the doctor is going to make you all better. You try to make your children feel safe and secure. And as they grow up your truth or honesty expands. Does that mean I had less integrity? Hmmm….

    As a wife mother, employee you do the right thing, ethically of course. But…You take care of your family’s needs before the needs of the Universe. You may volunteer at an animal shelter, but not until you know your kids had lunch and dinner. So did my integrity chip away even more?

    As a senior citizen I want to hear the truth from my doctor, but I don’t need to know the exact moment I’m going to die. So I want a doc with integrity but a kind bedside manner as well.

    I believe integrity is rather like a balloon floating in the wind. Someone who has it exemplifies truth and justice but every now and then may have to settle on compromises.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you give me lots to think about. Is making sure your kids are taken care of first mean you have integrity, if you put other things on the back burner? I say yes…but others will disagree…you make a lot of really thought provoking points…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You really made me think on this blog topic! I think our stage in life, our responsibilities, etc. may account for the level of our integrity. However, if we elect and pay officials to lead our our country, and they take an oath to uphold the laws of the land, then I do hold those people to the highest level of integrity. This is a lot to think about.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think one part with of integrity is acting with consistency. I gave an an example yesterday of how my supervisor let one of of my coworkers get away with bad behaviors for a long time before she was fired. I believe this was in part because the coworker was very charismatic, and for lack of a better word I think my supervisor had a nonsexual crush on her. Same supervisor was extremely hostile toward another coworker who didn’t have the same charismatic personality–even though this coworker was very good at her job.

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  6. There is nothing about our government that even slightly resembles integrity anymore. Perhaps integrity can be measures by asking the question, would your grandmother approve if she read it as a headline in the evening paper?</I? 😆 I think integrity is doing the correct thing even when no one else is watching.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think the number is fewer than it used to be. I know there have always been people who will scam others, etc., but when was the last time you reached an agreement based on a handshake and a good word?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I also find the cabbie example problematic. We end up asking ourselves, If I do the right thing, is the next person in line going to do the right thing once I walk away?” Should we assume they will and decide that possibility they won’t isn’t a factor in our decision? (Personally, I think a lost $20 is never going back to the person who lost it – keep it or give it to the cabbie as a tip.)

    Integrity is living by the standards you believe are correct and being consistent about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am in agreement with the third bullet point defining integrity. We all know when we act in ways that make us feel fractured and or incomplete, not following up with someone, passing laws that do not benefit society as a whole, etc, and when we act in these ways integrity, our integrity is incomplete. Though incomplete in these instances, we can still take action and become complete by cleaning up our messes, so to speak.

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  9. Aah…this is my favourite subject and I can write an essay on it.

    Integrity is equivalent to impeccability, it entails accountability not only to society at large but to one’s own self, integrity means conscientiousness, integrity implies that a person is very well aware of the implications of his or her action.

    And that, my friend, takes me to the second realm of thought. Whenever we speak of integrity we correlate or understand or assess it with action. However, don’t you think integrity of action is intrinsically and indisputably interwoven with integrity of thought which translates into visible action.

    Now the question is whether integrity should invariably have a visibility quotient? Or inaction in certain cases can also be construed as germinating from integrity of thought and purpose?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You say to the society at large…but is integrity individual…think about stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family? Does that person have integrity because they’re taking care of their own, or not because they’re stealing?


  10. I have said accountability to society at large and to one’s own self which implies that his or her acts have to be very balanced. For example, one’s deeds should be measured to the extent that it is positively beneficial to the individual as well as to the society. His liberties should not be licentious for the society. His truthfulness and loyalty should be as much to himself as to the society. The question of stealing does not arise for a person of integrity whether for his own self or for the society.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. The definition of the right thing differs from one person to another. Some people see right and wrong as clear as black and white while others live in the grey area.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. In Islam, the thing that measures your integrity to yourself is fasting. With prayer, you can look like you’re praying but your heart and mind are busy with other things, but with fasting, you can easily break your fast and nobody will know. That’s where your integrity is put to the test.

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