I don't think you're allowed to self-evaluate your integrity. I think the proof's in the pudding on that one. But I will say that's it's always been a theme word for my life. If you plant a flower in your yard, it's going to wither when it gets too hot or too cold. If you put a rock out there, it won't. It's gonna look the same whether it's a gentle spring day or a hailstorm. The rock has integrity. It stays the same regardless of the circumstances.
Steel is another thing that is said to have integrity. The less impurity, the less foreign matter in the mix, the stronger the steel - the more integrity. It's the same on the inside as it is on the outside.
Rocks. Steel. Geez. I sound like a pickup truck commercial. Also sounds boring.
So here's the challenge. What does a human who has integrity look like? My guess - they'll bring three things in line with each other: their thoughts, their words, and their behaviour.
How do I get there? Humans have this funny habit of having a perceived personality and then a blind side. So when I speak, and when I think about myself, I speak and think as though I am the person I picture myself as in my brain. However, my actions will belie the fact that I don't always measure up to the man I imagine I am.
The stronger your ideals, the larger the gap between your perceived self and your real self. That's a toughie. What's better? Having strong values, or having integrity? Is it possible that integrity actually means toning down your beliefs to something you can actually live up to? Don't get me wrong - don't go all the way to the other side and say, "If I don't keep any convictions, I don't need to feel guilt for any of my actions." That's cheating too.
You're creating a lot of stress for yourself when you're writing cheques with your conscience that your actions can't cash. I think integrity means having a realistic impression of yourself - what you can and can't do. And then not setting yourself up for failure.
So, what if I find a flaw in the steel? A crack from an inconsistency in the formula? Well, it's awfully hard to fix, isn't it? Kind of like a cavity, you'd need to drill out any weak spots, so that you are grafting in to the solid, pure, good stuff. Then you need to painstakingly layer in pure, molten filling that's made as solid as the existing stuff, or better, so that the weak spot is gone. If that's my personality that we're talking about, that means coming clean about the weakness, making the appropriate reparations, and then painstakingly correcting my behaviour by changing my habits.
Sounds hard. When I just write it out like that, I can see why it's mostly an aspiration. But when you find a person who is this way - MAN is it ever amazing. They say what they mean, they keep their promises, you know what to expect from them. They aren't dramatic. They are reliable.
Have you ever run into a football player, or a really strong person? Even though they're made of the same cellular structure as you, chances are you bounced off them like you had just charged headlong into a tree. Now picture someone who is like that mentally. That's a person with integrity. The real deal.
So, anyway, that's what I think integrity is. I'd tell you how to get there, but I don't stinking know. Just keep going, I guess.