INTEGRITY: It’s Like Being a Little Bit Pregnant
On encountering an injustice, a friend once told me, “Having integrity is like being a little bit pregnant. You either have it or you don’t.”
There is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant. You are or you are not. When it comes to integrity, you either have it, or you don’t. If you do, it can lead to uncomfortable situations. You can be put into a position of having to admit things that go against what you want, what you believe, and negatively affect outcomes you prefer.
If you don’t have integrity, however, all of those same challenges apply to the situation or event at hand and every other situation or event you encounter. Your assessment, judgment, and assertions are always questionable and your history of spinning or lying or lacking integrity flows over into everything you ever again assert. Doubt about your honesty has been injected, and you injected it.
I’m referencing people, human beings and characters in books as they relate to conflict, but the same is true of entities. Years ago, tobacco companies insisted smoking was safe. But when it was proven to be unsafe, it infected everything ever told by or about those companies. This has happened over and again with entities. It happened with our health care. Remember being told if you like your doctor or plan, you can keep it? But then you lost both? That you’d save money, but it costs more? And surely there has been someone at home or work who told you something that later proved false. That generated doubt in everything that person had ever told you—and that doubt carries over to everything they ever will tell you.
Integrity is being honest and driven by moral principles. Doesn’t sound that hard, does it? And many will tell you, lacking it is no big deal. Everyone spins. Everyone fudges a little now and then. Little white lies are common, and often told to spare someone’s feelings. We don’t want to hurt other’s feelings. The problem is all that is like being a little bit pregnant.
You are or you aren’t. You have integrity, or you don’t.
We have all heard, and lived with the fallout, that the cover up is often worse than the crime. Why is that? Because one lie requires another, then another, and another. So what was a little, insignificant prevarication becomes an intricate web of deceit.
The fact is, it is hard to be a person of integrity in a world filled with corruption and deceit. But isn’t that all the more reason we need to rise to the challenge and embrace integrity? To be the shelter in the storm where truth is respected and we can trust?
How many people lacking integrity do you respect and admire? How many do you go to for advice when you’re in trouble? When something important is going on in your life and you need help?
In books, readers seldom cheer the villain. In life, people seldom cheer those they don’t respect. The absence or lack of integrity is a character flaw that becomes monumental when trouble comes and challenges need to be solved. We turn to those we can trust. Those we respect. Those we can count on to be honest. We turn to those we consider to be people of integrity.
We do this because they are who they are. And because we are who we are. We want to know when we are told whatever we are told that it is the truth and we can rely on it.
In crafting fiction, or a life, whether an entity or an individual, seek integrity. Engage with it, and embrace those who have it. It makes life less complicated, more stable, and our relationships more worthy—of others and us.
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© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!