Finding Integrity.

I’m a big fan of the word integrity.

Dictionary.com defines integrity in three ways:
 
 
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:
to preserve the integrity of the empire.

3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition:
the integrity of a ship’s hull.

 
 
Integrity is one of those words that is easy to define, but harder to live.

Most people think about integrity in the context of that first definition. That’s also the most difficult thing to pull off every day, because it’s the one part of the definition that depends entirely on you.

I think of this in terms of diabetes advocacy. Am I doing what I do for the good of my community, or am I doing it so I can sit back and say, “look what I did”? There’s also the honesty factor: am I being truthful, completely truthful, or am I just being truthful enough to serve my own purposes? I think about this a lot.

When I say I think about this a lot, I mean I think about it in a self-examination kind of way, the way that we all should be looking at ourselves from time to time to ensure we’re being people we’d be comfortable calling a friend.

That said, I think almost all diabetes advocates do their best for the betterment of the community. There are always exceptions to the rule… but generally, there’s just not enough money in it otherwise. And recognition is fleeting. At the end of the day, you still have to look yourself in the mirror and like what you see.

The second part of the definition relies partly on the individual, but also relies on the ambiguity of whatever mission is being delegated to the individual. See also John Dean in the Nixon White House, or Paul Newman to his Newman’s Own brand of products. Big differences.

In addition to its literal translation, the third part of the definition can come into play, I think, when we think of ourselves in the context of a structure, or as the definition says, a ship’s hull. Are our thoughts and actions doing enough to keep our character, and the community’s character, intact?

When we say we need more volunteers, are we also volunteering ourselves? When we’re given a gift, of any measure, are we giving a gift as well? Are we being inclusive in the diabetes friends we choose? Are we answering the inquiries we want, and ignoring the rest?

This much I do know: the better we practice integrity every day, the better our friends and associates will be, the better our communities will be, and the better we will be.

First, let’s be as healthy as we can be. Next, let’s take what we’ve learned about integrity and define it on our own terms. Then we can be happy with the reflection in the mirror we see every day.

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Comments

  • Rick Phillips  On May 4, 2018 at 3:39 am

    Integrity is easy to define and hard to maintain. I have been reading the Shelby Foote history of the civil war. Grant described Lincoln as the man with the integrity he had ever met. Lincoln doubted his own

    Like

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