How Integrity Matters In LIfe

I can remember as a young person how much anxiety I would get when I had a test in school. I would stay up and study as hard as I could. I wanted to make sure I gave my best when it came to taking any test. Inevitably there would be someone who had the answers to the test and would pass them around. I had a choice, would I show some integrity? Or would I cheat and make sure to guarantee a good grade.

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I always chose to do my best and whatever grade I received is the one that I earned. I didn't get an A on every test, but I did learn how to study, how to try my hardest and overall how to put in work. Those are traits that even now in my mid 30's I still use.

Growing up this word has always been at the forefront of my mind. I wanted to make sure I did all things in a way that I was able to keep my integrity. In a world that tends to glorify the non-moral, it can be hard to hold onto integrity.  You may see someone who cuts corners get ahead of you for a bit; you may see someone succeed in business before you. Money, fame, and adoration from the masses are fleeting. They come with a price. Your good name and integrity are PRICELESS. An ancient proverb reminds us

" A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth; To be respected is better than silver and gold."

~ Proverbs 22:1

Recently I saw an interview between Monique and Steve Harvey. Monique said something I wholeheartedly agree with " we have been so concerned with chasing the money that we have forgotten about integrity"  Steve said that he has a family to take care of and he doesn't have time to think about integrity. Essentially he said he wouldn't let anyone or anything mess with his money because according to him "The best thing you can do for the poor is not to become one" That last sentence was a tough one to hear. I can see where he is coming from because it takes money to be able to take care of others. However, you should always want to do what is right BEFORE money. Your love of money shouldn't be the end all be all. We always hear about securing the bag and all of that; the truth is many in Hollywood live in excess. There is no need for more than one car, home, etc. if you have it that is great! But you shouldn't live in fear of losing it all.

I have been poor before, I live comfortably now but if we would lose everything tomorrow I know I will be ok because 1) I have my family and 2) I have kept my integrity in my life and I can sleep well knowing that I have done my best even when no one is watching me.

You can look at news stories day in and day out and see examples of the kind of stress you can cause for yourself and others close to you when you don't have integrity. Just look at the situation with Jussie Smollett as an example of why is it so important to have integrity. How will having integrity benefit your life? There are so many ways below I will name two.

  • You don't have to question yourself all the time: When we live out life with integrity, it instills confidence, and we don't have to second guess the choices we make for our life. That doesn't mean we will never make a mistake. When we do, we will have it in us to apologize and move forward. We don't have to worry about hiding our actions from anyone because we know that we made the best choice for us and that will bring us a peaceful life.

  • People realize they can trust you. When someone knows that you will always do the right thing by people they know they can trust you. Having the trust of others helps you in your professional and personal life. When people believe you they give you more respect, they open up to you. People realize that it takes a special kind of person to choose the moral right thing to do when no one is watching. That is something not everyone has, but they should strive to do.

Imagine how LESS stressful life can be when you don't have to worry about getting caught in a lie, worrying about making the wrong decisions all the time or not having close friends because no one can trust what is coming out of your mouth. Integrity doesn't mean you will be perfect, but if you work on this quality, you can enjoy less stress and overall sense of well being. I always tell my friends before you make any big decision to walk down the hall of consequences. For each action there is a reaction(good or bad) It is up to you what morals you have, what decisions you will make in life and life is like a river because no matter what your choice is, it will cause a ripple effect and it will always have an impact on someone else.

So what scenarios in life can you start practicing integrity?

If you are a parent something as simple as saying I am sorry to your children when you make a mistake. This not only helps you develop integrity but also teaches your children by example.

If you are a boss and you have people working for you, when you are running late in a meeting, a simple sorry for taking up your time helps your employees see that you care about their time as well.

If you are in a relationship make a goal NOT to call your partner out of their name or talk bad about them to other people. That small act only helps your relationship.

Making small changes in your life that help make you a better person is great for your health as well as the health of others around you. We should all strive to have a little less stress in our life. Living your life with integrity is the best way to start.