Honesty and integrity are very important qualities for personal growth (and, unfortunately, diminishing commodities amongst a lot of people in India). Honesty as a concept is a lot simpler to understand as compared to integrity. Honesty is simply the quality of being truthful and trustworthy. Integrity, on the other hand, has a much deeper meaning. It comprises a greater strength of character with a mix of authenticity, fairness, sincerity, soundness, wholeness and honesty. In a nutshell, integrity is the level of honesty in one’s actions or words. These two concepts, though overlapping, are based on trust, and thus play a huge role in self-growth.
To be honest is a lot simpler than to be a person with integrity. Honesty is about how truthful you are to others, whereas integrity is about how truthful you are to yourself. Being honest can build great relationships, but building integrity can build great character. Honesty tells you who a person really is and how solid your connection is. Integrity tells you how honest and reliable a person is. The presence of both these qualities is when one is truly happy with oneself. Human interactions like a working relationship, a friendship and love are all based on these two human attributes.
All of us are faced with a situation where a shortcut is available to us, but it’s at the risk of sacrificing our values. Both honesty and integrity are based on faith. If we have faith in ourselves and trust that we will get where we want to be, foregoing our ideals for the shortcut seems pointless. There are a few simple ways to maintain honesty and integrity – don’t lie to your family, friends and loved ones, own up to your mistakes, give straightforward opinions and most importantly, never falter with living righteously.
Sometimes, being too honest can backfire on you. Many times we may lie to preserve someone’s feelings, or to get out of a hurtful situation. In such cases, you need to be clear if you are willing to compromise your ideals to maintain a good relationship. Different situations demand for different levels of integrity, and it’s up to you to decide how straightforward you want to be. Some consider being brutally honest as better than hovering between honesty and dishonesty, and some value their relationships more than their principles. It’s more of a balancing act, really.
If honesty and integrity are absent from your life, you will not be satisfied with yourself. Human beings are social animals, and we all look at trust as one of the most important factors in a relationship. A dishonest person will automatically violate all the rules of integrity. If you live your life on the basis of these two traits, you will find that your life becomes a lot more fulfilling as you reveal your true self to others, and you will receive the same amount of respect in return. If you make a habit of doing the right thing at all times, lying would absolutely never be necessary.
Visual Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougbelshaw