When attempting to describe someone’s personality and what makes it inherently unique, words such as artistic, logical, or other adjectives may be used. Regardless of word choice, any option confirms adherence to a behavioral pattern. Thus, are people who stay quiet during an argument on which they hold an opinion a personified example of a lack of integrity? The multitude of the term’s existing definitions is widespread, relevant to a variety of settings. This specific urges an uncertainty of what retaining integrity means and necessitates formulating a description that is reflective of its multifaceted nature.
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The modeled situation wherein a person holds their peace in an argument that concerns one of their cornerstone beliefs may occur because, for example, they feel like the other participants would not support them. To those who define integrity as honesty and courage against adversity, this situation would cast the quiet person as dishonest. If “etymologically ‘integrity’ means wholeness,” then the case must be understood from a comprehensive approach, wherein integrity is defined as adherence to personal values (Schwartz 3). Thus, the silent process may still be considered wholesome if the person holds being non-conflicting as a character trait.
From this angle, integrity becomes people’s personal choice, even if it means that a chaotically evil person maintains their integrity through destructive acts. Thus, defining it as “the virtue of remaining true to oneself” is a wrong approach (Cox et al. 3). Instead, researchers delineate it as the most beneficial balance between choices that upholds the best aspects of both conflict and compliance (Cox et al. 7). Thus, my opinion is that neither silence nor agitation may be a gauge for integrity in the illustrated case, as both lead to detriment of those who have found themselves in this situation.
A person’s choices, demonstrative of their self-efficacy concerning their framework of beliefs, could be the best approach to interpreting integrity. Coincidentally, defining it as “the ability to weigh the considerations… and decide when an exception is warranted” allows adhering to a lifestyle that never jeopardizes the concept (Schwartz 6). If I force myself into an action, which is incongruent with my values, then I may abandon my principles.
However, when the occurred self-conflict furthers my solution of the internal disagreement, integrity is maintained without losing personal cornerstones. Thus, it is appropriate to reintroduce integrity as a concept that is balanced on dynamic individuality.
The proposed definition of integrity is that of a life-long process aimed at constructing a framework of personal values based on continuous re-assessment and self-conflict in an endeavor to find goodness. This definition, rooted in personal experience, does not delineate integrity as a rigid construct, which may never change once formed, but as a painfully malleable one. Furthermore, its conflicting nature does not stem from a desire for comfort or convenience, as it instead aims to further personal competence through constant re-assessment against a changing rubric to obtain stellar results. Thus, integrity becomes an essential trait, compromised only by indifferent existence.
Cox, Damian, et al. Integrity and the Fragile Self. Routledge, 2018.
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Schwartz, Jeremy. “Integrity: The Virtue of Compromise.” Palgrave Communications, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-7. Web.