Article on “Building and upholding on One’s Integrity” Written By: Lawrence Saah Varnie Director, Cradle of Hope for Relief and Development
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Dear profound readers, it has always been my source of inspiration to receive feedback from readers on the impact of my scripts on the lives of the growing generations. Creating awareness, identifying and developing potentials in children and young adults continue to remain my passion and as a contribution to serving humanity. This article is focused on building and upholding the integrity of human being and is intended to help you to re-think yourself, re-shape it and guide you on why and how to relate to others while giving those who are evidently in need a helping hand. It also provides a platform for you to be able to access how you and others feel about your doings through critical observation and not only that; but know its importance to your life. According to the dictionaries, the word “integrity” is defined as adherence to moral principles and the quality of being unimpaired.

The term “integrity” originates from the Latin adjective “integer” meaning whole and complete. Other perspectives view the concept of human integrity as a person’s wholeness of character and the inner wisdom of wholeness (totality) that stems from virtues such as honesty, truthfulness and consistency of actions. In a very simple term, it means to be true to self. As such, having human integrity and character integrity can only be considered to the extent that one acts according to the values, beliefs, and principles one claims to hold dear. For you to uphold to your own integrity, I would most respectfully like to suggest the following measures which were published by Jessica B. Casey a Clinical and Mental Health Counselor:

1) Be honest and keep your promises as honesty is one of the most important aspects of integrity. There is no way others will consider you a person of integrity if you are dishonest or always trying to mislead others. You got to work on ways of keeping your promises and be truthful to others at all material time knowing that, a broken promise is definitely an effectively lie, and lying is completely inconsistent with living with integrity.

No matter what the situation would be and even if you feel within yourself that to be truthful might hurt someone’s feelings at that moment, let it be; because there is no better way out. If you are known as someone who stand for truth, no matter the situation, people will most definitely respect and honour you for who you are and what you stand for. To do so, you got to check in with your thoughts, acknowledge, the way you feel, and taking time to evaluate how those feelings influence your (own) behavior towards others in your, school, community, work place etc.

2) As human, challenges are bound to confront us. My personal life as refugee during the bloody civil conflict in my home land, (Liberia) taught me many lessons. From those experiences, I have finally come to a conclusion that, as living being, it is worthy to show compassion, sympathy/empathy towards others in need knowing that, we do not have control over nature. Right at this moment, there are hundreds of people who are evidently in need of anything that can possibly sustain their lives beyond today. No one has the power to control situations around us and you have no idea how your future will look like. You cannot live a life of integrity without being mindful and concerned about others. A lack of compassion or sympathy for others can often result in poor judgment, acts of selfishness, and ultimately a damaged relationship with someone you supposedly care about. There are exceptionally bad day for everyone. So, it is always a good thing to try and understand how others feel and show kindness even in minor way. You can do so through acts of charity, or by simply lending a helping hand to someone in need at work or on the street. Do you now see the need to support street children?

3) Life as a whole is learning processes that grow with stages just like an organization. Another good way to ensure that you are truly living a life of integrity is to lay out a roadmap for yourself. Evaluate your life to know who you are, where you are, what opportunities are available to you and what do you want to become in the near future. Re-look at your personal integrity and moral character.
According to Ayn Rand a Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright, “achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values”. By this, it makes sense for you to be able to write out your goals and your values. Think hard about what kind of person you want to be and what you hope to achieve in your lifetime. What statement you want to write with your knowledge and opportunities available to you. You could decide to commit effort in developing yourself in meaningful ways as a way of preparing for a journey that will land you in a brand new destination.

Remember that personal transformation takes a lot of work and dedication. I have personally worked at a cyber café for many years and my work was challenged with all kinds of temptation to get involved with all kinds of things which I considered immoral. However, I stood the test of time throughout those years and I am happy to state that I was able to overcome all of the temptations. I took the decision to fight all odds because, as part of my personal mission statement for life, I have a burning desire to transform lives of especially vulnerable children and young adults into legacy with an unquestionable record in my dealing with people. By so doing, these targeted groups will be molded into a responsible adulthood and to become assert to society rather than liability. My work as the founder and director of Cradle of Hope for Relief and Development, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) concerned with the welfare of children is evident of this fact. Your mission statement might be different from mine but no matter what is takes, it should provide guidance to a successful life on a day-to-day basis. Even if you feel lost or uncertain, your mission statement should help keep you focus and dedicated to your cause.

4) Maintain a dedication to your values. Your values are what guides you through life. They’re often shaped by your influential experiences, but your values may change as you grow with knowledge, fame and adapt to new stages of life. This is normal and it is important to maintain a commitment to your values, no matter what happen at any given stage in your life.

Focus on what matters most to you among the list of your personal, social, spiritual and professional goals. Let the things that are important to you determine how you treat others and how you live your very life. Never compromise your values. Anything that is truly a personal value to you will not be compromised because it’s convenient. Jim Rohn, a renowned American motivational speaker quoted on life issues that “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.” No matter how educated, experienced and or wealthier you are, your relationship with people is critically examined on a day-to-day basis and are referred to either to be honoured or discredited for some moral, social, political or economic gains. Certainly, in politics for instance, your opponent will make it their personal business to identify your weakness and particularly your relationship with people. If these relationships are good, that’s a plus, if not, you definitely stand the test of time to pay for your dealings. All human being have the right to make decisions for themselves; unfortunately, no one has the moral, social, spiritual, political or legal rights to escape from the consequences of their past decisions. I suggest to you that, no matter the situation you may find yourself in today, it will be better if you could take stock of your life and be mindful of your relationship with human beings in general. One thing to do also is to walk your talk; meaning that you do what you ask others to do.
An Indian woman approached Mahatma Ghandi after miles of travel to seek advise for her son to desist from eating sugar. The woman was disappointed when she was asked to call back in three weeks. However, on her return, Ghandi told the young boy “your mother has asked me to advise you to desist from eating sugar. The woman got angry and asked “why couldn’t you do this the first day I called”? Ghandi replied, it because I was eating sugar myself and it will be unfair to advise someone to desist from something I was doing. From your approach, I learned from it and I therefore now have the moral right to advise your son. What Mahatma Ghandi did was all about integrity; the lack of it causes people get involve or continue doing wrong things such as students involve in examination malpractice, over invoicing at work places, cheating in relationship, wrongful possession of others properties etc.

We are in midst of complex society that is full of tremendous challenges of increasing needs and wants of materials and status recognition. As human, striving to address all these challenges and to be able to stay on top of all tests, it is obvious that many will be tempted to not only that which are necessary and ethical in the site of reasonable men but anything that comes their way.
How I see it and practicing, integrity has to do with dedication to excellence, respect and service to human kind at all material time. Ask yourself right now “what gift have ever given to someone that has had a positive impact on their life? If you have this record to your credit, that’s good one if not, you still have enough time to cultivate it and that could start even right now. In the interest and service to mankind, I encourage you to make this piece of valuable advise to be part of you for it is the only way we can contribute to making life better place for all. Thank you.