What Does Integrity Mean?

I talk a lot about integrity when I am working with people, and you’d be surprised to find that while people will agree about integrity’s importance, they may perceive its definition differently.

While the official definition of integrity might be:

“The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”

There is a deeper meaning among those who are on a path to enlightenment; a more accurate integrity definition would be something, like this:

“To have integrity means you hold yourself to a high standard of doing the things you say regardless circumstance or feeling.”


In other words, you keep your word, elsewise no one could truly put their trust in you. An old adage referring to integrity was, “A man’s word is his bond.” This translates to

“If I tell you something, you can count on it coming to pass.”

Back in the day, this standard of integrity only applied to the masculine sex due to their ability to make a thing so was far more likely due to the feminine’s lack of resources; this does not apply today, as women too have the ability to manifest a result just as equally (or more so) than their male counterparts.

The first objection to come to mind for anyone contemplating the heaviness of possessing a high degree of integrity and the meaning of integrity in general might be

“What if I change my mind?”

Change is a matter to be weighed any time anyone makes a commitment, gives their word or generally agrees to anything. It is a constant throughout time that things will happen, circumstances may change or additional knowledge may have been withheld at the time the affirmation was agreed to.

“So, what do I do, if I gave my word and now find myself in a quandary?”

Integrity also allows for the integrous individual to alter his or her word, without much loss of one’s value of integrity if it is handled with integrity.

An integrous person who is unable to keep their word must approach the active party/parties with humility and honesty, explaining their inability to keep his or her word due to whatever circumstances apply, then ask for feedback, solutions or alternatives to make things right.

The highest level of integrity would be to keep your word and follow through regardless of feelings, circumstances of even due to lack of integrity of other parities who may have been involved. The next best thing would be to enter a negotiation to see if all parties can agree on a compromise that they all can live with. It might not be ideal or completely integrous, but it is honorable to

Do the right thing

Which may mean considering changes in circumstances and renegotiation; though it can be problematic if after much deliberation no compromise can be found.

If no compromise can be agreed to there may be an inevitable loss of integrity as well as trust that may have been associated with it.

If you find yourself often unable to keep your word, you may find that you agree to things too quickly, without practicing due diligence or reviewing the ramifications of your commitment prior to agreement. In this case, consider enforcing your own hesitation to allow time for thoughtful consideration before agreeing to anything. This can help to preserve your integrity.

Recovery of a high level of integrity may be established after a time of demonstrating one’s level of integrity over time.

A small number of people within our population actually adhere to any level of integrity, as the majority focus completely on how they feel at any given moment, and this lack of integrity has led our society to where it is today.

On the other hand, there are people, like us, who choose to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

If nothing else, people know us by our ability to follow through and be counted on, regardless of circumstance or how we feel.

This is the definition of integrity.

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