Every week when I sign off of my radio show, “The Mack Newton Power Hour”, I say to all my listeners “be true to yourself.” And, people are always asking me “what do you mean when you say that?” Well, what I’m talking about here is integrity. Perhaps the most important value of all….integrity. I once heard said, “Integrity is not so much a value in itself; it is rather the value that guarantees all the other values.” This was a great insight for me…a crystal moment! It changed my life forever.
As we mature and develop our own values and standards (or absorb them from others), the issue of personal integrity assumes increasing importance. Once you have decided that you are going to live consistent with a value, your level of integrity determines whether or not you follow through on your commitment. What exactly is integrity? Integrity in the integration of ideals, convictions, beliefs…values, and behavior. When our behavior is in harmony with our professed values, when ideals and practice match…we have integrity. It’s really just that simple. When your words and your actions are congruent…we have integrity. The more you discipline yourself to live consistent with the very best you know, the greater is your level of integrity. And the higher your level of personal integrity, the happier and more effective and powerful you will feel in everything you do. When you live this way, you’re being true to yourself.
I mean, at the simplest level, personal integrity asks such questions as: am I honest, reliable, and trustworthy? Do I keep my promises? Do I do what I say I’m going to do and do I not do what I say I don’t do? I think it makes it easy for you to be your own best friend and really easy for others to like you.
Truly great men and women are always being described as having high levels of integrity. They live their lives consistent with their highest values, especially when no one is looking. Mediocre men and women, on the other hand, are always looking for shortcuts, backing out of commitments, compromising their integrity, and, most especially when no one is watching. This behavior clearly undermines their sense of self-esteem and self-worth and they’re saying my opinion about myself doesn’t matter, only those of others who may be watching.
Interestingly enough, though, integrity doesn’t guarantee that we will make the best choice; it only asks that our effort to find the best choice to be real…be authentic. Integrity asks that we stay connected with our knowledge and our experience and take responsibility for all our choices and their consequences and not attempt to escape into some sort of a mental fog.
There are people we know that we trust and people we know that we don’t trust. The people we trust have words and actions that match…and the people we don’t trust…don’t. My Great-Grandma always said to me, “Mackie, what you’re doing is making so much noise I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” Always make your words and actions and your thoughts and behaviors match. Be true to you.
Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.