Integrity, pronunciation: in-Ďte-gre-te, noun
Websterís defines integrity as:
Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility. Synonyms of integrity include honesty, truth, honor, veracity, reliability, uprightness.
Integrity is something of a lost art these days - an art people no longer aspire to. To say one thing and do another is no surprise to anyone. Be it friend, business associate or total stranger, lack of integrity runs rampant. The odd part is very few people even feel betrayed. Actually, when someone believes what another says and then gets stabbed in the back, they arenít disappointed in the liar Ė that may not be the PC term used for someone who is untruthful or disrespectful but the definition fits Ė actually itís the one who is deceived who is often more disappointed in themselves for not expecting or seeing it coming. Sadly, the liar (though we can water it down and call them cad, fraud, hypocrite or fake) is often exulted and envied.
Integrity, the desire to adhere to values and respect, is losing itís desirability in the face of saying one thing and doing another. We are becoming a looser society that does not mean what they say and have no regrets for misleading people.
Much like integrity, etiquette is becoming a lost art. Etiquette is more of a novelty these days. If you can navigate a dinner table and throw a decent party with class and style, youíre just as likely to be called a snob as you are a considerate host or hostess.
Those who opt to burp the alphabet, eat with their elbows on the table and chew with their mouths open are often seen as cool or non-conformists. How sad that rudeness can be exulted and lies can be envied.
When you consider the person who is willing to stand on principle, youíll find that integrity is the ultimate show of etiquette itself. Just as etiquette shows acceptance of others, who they are and the grace to deal with them, integrity goes out of its way to accommodate anotherís feelings when dealing with someone.
Lack of integrity ultimately causes one to cower and scheme. Actual integrity in oneself can allow you to hold your head high. Itís a comfort to know you arenít going to let people down. Lying, much like cheating, stealing, etc., gets easier with time. The first fib is the hardest. Itís not as tough to pull off the next time and those that follow get quite easyÖsmoother, like butter.
Following through on your promises with integrity, however, also gets easier over time. The first time it looks like you canít make good on a promise, itís actually an opportunity to find out what you are truly made of. Is your word so important to you that youíd be able to give something up in order to make sure you are truthful to the end? The first time you work your hardest to pay a client when you said you would or take your mother to lunch like you promised Ė even if it means losing a little money or time on your pinched budget Ė youíll feel like a hero when you come through. Itís a feeling that can be addictive. Try it and youíll want to make good on all your promises.
Style and grace follow etiquette. Class and refinement follow integrity. Over time traditions hold true and this writer has faith that kindness and consideration will always be stylish.