Can You Be Trusted As A Person With A High Level Of Integrity?

Zig Ziglar said, “With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.” I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters,” and that is the bottom line, can you be trusted as a person with a high level of integrity?

Integrity for me means doing the right thing at all times under all circumstances, never compromising myself because, I no longer have a lack of faith in my ability to do the right thing, whether anyone is watching or not. My habit of dishonesty had caused much pain in my life, and choosing to fearlessly interrupt my ego was the only clear path forward for me.

So often I found myself in a place where my integrity was under the radar of my egoic belief systems and habitual incorrect thinking and subsequent behavior. I struggled to identify with my true purpose, did not listen to the voice of my natural intuition, and brought a lot of misery into my life in active addiction that could have been avoided. In hind sight, this is probably the most difficult of all the steps to face and also one that provides the greatest opportunity for growth. I had mastered the habit of pretending to be okay when I was really a broken, frightened little girl who lost her belief in herself, and I was filled with anger and fear. Thich Nhat Hahn reminded me that, “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”

Knowing that there are consequences for every action, I have become acutely aware of every decision I make, and how that will affect the result I desire. In the Tibetan book of Living and Dying it says, “Whatever you do, don’t try and escape your pain, but be with it.” My attempt to escape from all the experiences in my life that caused me so much pain and discomfort, ended up creating more pain in the end, and that was the reality of my addiction. We live in a society that is all about instant gratification and if you are not careful, you will fall into this trap and cause plenty of misery in and around your life, which was my reality 5 years ago. I was living a lie and the only person that I had left to blame was myself, I had given too much power to the beliefs of others, and distorted my own reality, becoming a lost soul, and in doing so I had lost my ability to be trusted as a person of integrity, which is the most valuable quality anyone can have in their life.

For me, being a lost soul meant I no longer had any idea how to get out of the mess I had created out of my life and I desperately needed help, and support to overcome my lack of integrity, and so many other areas of my life that had led to my failed suicide attempt. Just thinking back now, makes me shiver to the core of my being; I really was lost. I knew I had to regain my sense of self, and find my own truth to become whole again, and somehow I had to find a way; this became my burning desire. I have chosen to own my character defects and it is my sole responsibility to correct my wrong thinking and action. By owning my ugly parts and correcting my mistakes by learning from them, I am able to stand in my power.

Negative words and feelings have absolutely no power over me, except what I give to them. The moment I stopped feeding my energy into these negative thoughts and feelings, they no longer had a life of their own. They have been replaced by healthy thoughts, and behavior that is more in tune with who I truly am, a spirit having a human experience. I have come to understand what Oprah Winfrey meant when she said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” I saw that when I tried to cover up a mistake I had made to avoid the consequences, I had lost my integrity right in that moment, and being dishonest for that instant gratification just was not worth it anymore; it does not last, and the truth comes out eventually anyway!

It took a lot of courage to do the right things initially but as time went by the consequences of exercising my integrity yielded healthy results because I came to understand what Ralph Waldo Emerson meant when he said, “What you do speaks so loud, I can hardly hear what you are saying.” It takes years to build a reputation of integrity, and it takes only one second to lose it, so now I never allow myself to do anything that would damage my integrity. The value of the trust others have in me now, far outweighs anything that can be measured, and brings along with it limitless opportunities, and endless possibilities. I believe that what Bob Marley said exemplifies this in his quote, “The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

Desire is something that drives us to success or failure, this in turn depends on how we think and act, our support structure and our willingness to push beyond our own limitations. On my own I am not capable of achieving sustainable results in any area of my life, only by building a connection to my higher self, and living according to God’s will, is this possible. Today I also avoid those that are not trustworthy, and refuse to associate with them, as I know that certain associations by default led to my lack of integrity. It became apparent to me that people pay attention to those you have chosen to associate with, and they will inevitably judge your character by the friends you keep, why you may ask? My mother often said, “If you lie down with dogs, you get fleas,” I now really understand that it is by association that one becomes affected. Inevitably we become more and more like the people we surround ourselves with day to day. If these people are dishonest, then you will follow the pattern of first enduring their behavior, then accepting it and finally adopting it. If you want to build a reputation as a person of integrity; then surround yourself with people of integrity, take out the trash. I have become cautious of people whose actions don’t match their words; I strongly suggest you do too.

I can’t win integrity by lying or cheating, I can only earn it from living a life dedicated to exercising my integrity under all circumstances. It all begins, and ends in my mind; what I give power to, has power over me. Integrity in my heart begins to fill with happiness as vast as the universe when I choose my thoughts, and actions based on values rather than personal gain. Truth stands tall alongside integrity, surrounded by a sea of deceit, hatred, jealousy, lies, cowardliness, and self-righteousness. The Holy Bible states in Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” A last word from a very wise man, Rick Warren, who so aptly states, “Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up!”

-Excerpts taken from “Turn Your Life On” – Author – Belinda Snyman 

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