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Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Integrity

Husband and I were talking about something and the subject turned to integrity of a person. (in general)

The definition of integrity is :

1.adherence to moral principles; honesty

2. the quality of being unimpaired; soundness

3. unity; wholeness

You rarely hear this word to define a single person. And when you do, it is usually a person describing themselves (which I have also found suspect) and on the rare occasions that I have heard this word used to describe someone else, more times than not the word is being misused. ie you know that person has lied, you know that person has an uncouth moral sense.

With Husband's definition there is even fewer that holds this title. He includes work ethics, family loyalty, selflessness. He insists that for a person to have integrity that they must do for their family and see that they are well cared for, that they are supported in love and home, that you will do the lowliest of jobs (things you consider beneath your station like dish-washing at a hole in the wall pub) to see that the family is well cared for. Not coming up with get rich quick schemes that never work and allowing the family to falter. And above all else, being humble.

I like Husband's definition of it, which does include the dictionaries. But very few in this world would match it, and those that have you will never hear about. Integrity isn't a word that is traditional bestowed onto unknowns, mainly politicians and clergy. I have heard the word used by locals to describe a 90 yr old farmer. But never the younger ones.

Integrity is not trendy. The word is used to belittle another person, as in I have it and you don't. And it really doesn't seem to matter if they know that person, they still will say that that person has none. And why is that? Did you catch them in a lie 20 years ago and because of the past they are not allowed to have this word used to describe them? Did you sense that there morals were untraditional yesterday or years past? This word tends not to be used for people that have changed, unless you give it to yourself.

Thinking and listing through the popular names of our time, it is difficult to pinpoint someone with integrity. You look at our "heroes" and the word only sometimes seems to fit, yet how can we truly say that they have integrity if you know only of their public life. To give some one the description of integrity you would have to intimately know that persons recent history. And even harder if the person has ever wronged you in the past, no matter if they have apologized. We tend to hold grudges far too long.

Husband and I discuss words quite often, the meanings originally and what they have morphed into as well as individual definitions. That is one of the greatest things about language. However "owning" a word is something that I have massive issues with, but that is another discussion.

I have two people in my life that I can truly say meets all the criteria to be labeled with the word integrity, and one that I see making great strides to be it. My Husband (though he will say differently as he has lied in the recent past, but that lie brought about a discovery that someone that claims integrity had little so I forgive him and allow him to have this honor). My mother. And my little brother who is showing his true worth and finally seeing it for himself.

There are also others that I believe have it, people that actually read this blog and write their own. I will not call them out on this as I realize that with integrity comes humbleness, and then awkwardness. I see feet shifting and mumbled, naw not me's.

Many people that have integrity do not profess to having it. It's there and we see it. We can't help but to see it. Many times we don't know what to call it and will work around the word to describe a person. And it is a shame to say the least. I think we should tell those people in our lives that we feel they do truly have it. And if they suddenly confess to something they have done wrong, that in itself is proof. None of us can be completely whole, to be completely honest at all times (as we do lie by omission) but to admit to doing so, to reason out a single reason why integrity isn't something that should be placed on them as a description shows that this person actually does deserve it, for we rarely confess our sins to another.

I have confessed mine to Husband I have apologized to those that I have wronged, however there are a few that I will not be apologizing to as they think I have wronged them, but I do not see that I have. Some people are a little to dramatic and like to make mountains out of their over emotional and figment mole hills. See I am way too cynical. I may never have the word used to describe me. And I never have once looked for it to. Now I am laughing because I now someone that would say that I am fishing for compliments. This would be yet another one of those hills I described. Sometimes you just want to talk, to say what you truly mean, to be open and honest with those around you, and with that comes those people that think you lie about everything, that you want someone to tell you how wonderful you are. They have issues believing that all you are doing is opening up to how things feel for you. But that is a different subject isn't it.

I think it is high time that I wrote a few "love" letters to those that I admire, to those that I feel have spunk and integrity.

10 comments:

HermitJim said...

Seems like the few folks I knew that truly had integrity are all gone now, and I haven't seen many more around!

It's almost like true integrity faded with age, or something!

Very thought provoking post today, my friend! Thank you!

Phelan said...

I'm not sure it has faded Jim. I think it is more that we have issues recognizing it. We are also so self-centered that if we don't have that quality then no one else can have it.

Then we have the culturally issues of I deserve because I breath and win at all costs.

SkippyMom said...

Living your life honestly is the best attribute, I think, one can have.

I have seen you do this time and again over the past 5 years Phe - and I would count you among the people that I know that have integrity. It isn't the largest group, but it is one of the most important one to me.

Know I gotcha' - hugs and thank you again.

Robbyn said...

What a wonderful post, girl. Life is so short. We can repair our mistakes, hold ourselves to our best standard, hold others dear and do due diligence to get rid of the destructive things, protect what is precious. Thank you for your words that mean so much, and for never being a quitter, standing by your family, making tough personal decisions that mean sticking by the ones you love and a way of life that's most meaningful, changing it up as you have to when circumstances force your hand. You're truly a pioneer...love you, girl!

Kelle said...

All I dare add is AMEN *thumbs up*

On another note, you blessed my heart with your kind, loving and thoughful words today and wouldn't you know it, today of all days I NEEDED to have someone, well you Phelan,as a real true friend with exceptional intergrity :o)

Hugs,
Kelle

Lisa said...

Phelan, I have read your blog for years...I have admired you, laughed with you...been humbled by your drive, even in the midst of your pain...you succeed and learn...and have an absolute honesty in your mistakes, or what you perceive them to be...you share without reservation...you give without reservation...and you have been instrumental in my own stumble thru making a homestead......you have been my inspiration to try new things...to define what is important to me...to learn and make mistakes without being afraid...you? YOU DO have integrity...and I find myself drawn to your incredibly honest perception of life...

I read my comments today...and I found one from YOU! I felt like Brad Pitt wrote me a personal letter! You made my day...my week...my whole month! I can't express my gratitude in words...and how that made me feel...Thank you! Thank you for everything you have given me Phelan!
Lisa http://thedilletaneproprietor.blogspot.com

Jane said...

I personally have known people with intergrity, I don't know if I have it or not,but I truly hope that I will always be aware of it in others. Blessings jane

Jane said...

I personally have known people with intergrity, I don't know if I have it or not,but I truly hope that I will always be aware of it in others. Blessings jane

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

I side with Hermit Jim. A VERY thought provoking post. I too must thank you for sharing your words, life and selfless ways with all of us. There is nothing more to add, All the above comments truly express what I would write. You amaze me. You thrill me. You inspire me. The ups. The downs. The funny and the sad. They mean more due to your honesty and selfless view. I do not take the post as "fishing" which you mentioned. It is meant for the stimulation of thought provoction. ANYONE who percieves it any other way, obviously does not fall in a category of importance.
Integrity was the very subject today in a facebook {dont laugh. I patheticaly have more interaction with friends/family thru it due to the thousands of miles distance away, life has caused}. The subject was Ayn Rand and the fact she in her last part of life recieved govt. assistance. The very subject she devoted her life in saying those who take it are parasites. {see? I told you I get too wordy at times when commenting-causing me to erase more comments the people even know. lol}

Darren (Green Change) said...

A simple definition I recently read said that someone has integrity if they will still do the right thing even if nobody is watching or could ever find out what they did.

I like that.

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