Integrity is one of the most complex terms among those used to describe a human character and ability to cooperate with others. It belongs to such notions that encourage to think of righteousness and community spirit. A person who realizes the need for integrity is the one who is always honest with others and supports unity in a team.
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The word integrity originated approximately in the fifteenth century from a Latin word integrate meaning “soundness, wholeness, completeness” or “purity, correctness, blamelessness.” It acquired a sense of “wholeness, perfect condition” in the middle of the sixteenth century (Online Etymology Dictionary). The modern meaning of the word has two shades: the quality of being candid and confident in what one is doing, and the state of being joined as one entire thing.
The term integrity fits into the category of human states expressing belonging to some group or identifying oneself as a part of a whole. Integrity can be applied in such dimensions as school, work, family, community, and nation. This state presupposes sharing the same views and values as everyone else in one’s group does. A person owning integrity is willing to help his/her peers or colleagues. He/she is a responsible citizen and does everything possible to sustain a team spirit.
Integrity as a personal trait fits in the division of character features that describe a noble and honest person.
Illustrations and Contrasts
To provide a deeper understanding of integrity, it is a good idea to give examples of the words close in meaning and the words opposite to this notion. Synonyms to integrity as a personal quality are honesty, purity, sincerity, virtue, righteousness, and straightforwardness (Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus). Synonyms to integrity as a state are cohesion, stability, unity, and purity (Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus). Thus, this notion is associated with exclusively virtuous ideas and features.
Antonyms to integrity are corruption, disgrace, dishonesty, and incompleteness (Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus). Such opposites justify the positive meaning of the notion.
To illustrate team integrity, we may take employees at a shop as an example. When a customer comes up with a question about a certain product and a shop-assistant is not sure whether the product has the necessary functions, he/she has two choices: to tell the customer that he/she thinks the product is compliant with their needs, or to ask his/her colleagues. In the second case, a shop-assistant chooses to act in accordance with integrity principles. He/she asks for other employees’ opinions and demonstrates two things: that he/she is dedicated to the customer (integrity as honesty) and that he/she cares about the colleagues’ opinion and trusts them (integrity as cohesion and unity) (Heathfield).
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In my personal experience, the notion of integrity has always been connected with something noble and righteous. When I was a child, my grandmother often talked about the necessity of the nation’s integrity, and I grew up with the idea that a nation will be powerful and united if it has integrity. When I became a student, integrity within the peer students became one of my goals. In the future, I am going to apply the principles of integrity to communication with my colleagues. Being a straightforward person and having a common purpose with other people are indispensable features for a good person and a successful professional.
The word integrity incorporates two basic meanings: being honest and respecting the people with whom one is closely connected. This notion is particularly crucial in such an environment as medicine. Considering oneself as a part of a team allows to make correct decisions, and being honest with the patients encourages their positive disposition and makes them treat the person as a real professional.
Heathfield, Susan M. “What Is Integrity – Really?” The Balance. 2016, Web.
“Integrity.” EtymOnline.com. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2017, Web.
“Integrity.” Thesaurus.com. Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, 2013, Web.