500 Words on Integrity

500 Words on Integrity

Give up on your dreams.
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A person’s integrity is measured, by definition, through their honesty and their ability to maintain their moral beliefs. These beliefs can range from the higher tier religious beliefs to a person’s stance on gun control to whether or not they think it’s rude to spit on the sidewalk. Keeping one’s integrity intact is, I believe, crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a strong individuality.

Before anything else, observe the personality, conceptually. Personality dictates unique or rare qualities pertaining to an individual. In some cases, even common personality traits made abnormally noticeable can shape the way a person is perceived. Largely, the importance of personality, and ultimately integrity, is derived from the way a person is perceived.

Assuming a personality means that the person in question is unique and does things indicative of said personality. Obviously. As such, the outward personality traits are viewed and understood by that person’s peers, either positively or negatively. A person is what they believe and what they do because of those beliefs. The foundation of self-understanding and self-worth rely on those factors that make oneself special on a micro scale. So, of course, the way in which someone maintains his or her beliefs also demonstrates a personality trait. Generally speaking, the stronger one holds to their morals, the more positively they are perceived in maintaining who they are. After all, if a person gives up on their beliefs, they are fundamentally giving up on who they are and what made them who they are.

Circumstances are known to arise that challenge a person’s integrity. For example, a writer for a newspaper may be asked to write a personal column instead of the news story they had wanted. Theoretically, the news is the reason this writer got into the job, and refusing the request results in termination. Hypothetically. Does the writer submit and write a personal column, or do they insist on writing about the news and gamble with their livelihood?

The result of that writer’s decision determines whether or not they value their job or their passion more. To some, the respectable decision is to keep to a passion and blossom as a person. For others, giving up on a job because you couldn’t do what you wanted to is idiotic. In short, it is a matter of perspective.

However, such challenges do, in fact, test integrity. Should the aforementioned writer submit to the job they were told to do, they sacrifice a level of integrity, and you can measure how reasonable the loss is by figuring out if the positive effect of keeping their job outweighs the loss of integrity.

Keep in mind the core of integrity: personality. Lack of integrity can come across like a lack of person. Maybe someone considered a “sell-out” lacks a little bit of life. Maybe they seem empty. Perhaps giving up on your beliefs in order to accomplish a greater goal is damaging to the soul. In my opinion, it is better to maintain one’s integrity, belief, persona, et cetera, than it is to seek some kind of end game. When the day is done and your decisions have been made, do you feel whole? Are you proud of who you are? Are you content with the things you’ve done and the reasons you had to do them?

Cover Image Credit: ibogainemexico

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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'Welcome To Class! In Case Of A School Shooting...'

School shootings seem to be the new norm, my professors are supposed to tell us what to do in case it becomes our norm.
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The first day of Spring quarter, I was given the usual rundown of the syllabus, we went over all of the normal things professors talk about on the first day, grading policies, attendance, etc. But I was shocked when my instructor explained the protocol for an active shooter situation should one take place on campus. My initial reaction was shocking, the only things running through my head is, that could never happen here, this is a waste of time. But as he continued to speak about it, I realized, that's probably what other students have thought too.

We are now five months into the year, and as of May 18th, there have been 22 school shootings in the United States alone. Some schools are preparing for these situations by updating their school security, making students have clear backpacks, and in our case, having a protocol ready if this occurred on our own campus.

So why aren't all schools doing these things? It does cost money, however, room needs to be made for these extra costs.

School is supposed to be a safe place, not a war-zone.

Clear backpacks may be a little drastic, however, more cameras, intercom systems at main entrances to allow access, and, of course, some type of protocol. Our teachers face enough stress in their day-to-day lives. By not funding these resources, we are saying we don't care about their safety. Dedicated teachers are ready to lose their life if it means they can protect their students.

They shouldn't have to.

Anya Kamenetz with NPR explains a good way to prevent school shootings would be to have more mental health professionals available in the schools themselves, while even creating a social-emotional curriculum. It is not, however, a good idea to target students because they may be introverted or uninterested in everyday activities. Would you enjoy someone being your friend specifically because they were scared you might shoot up a school? I didn't think so. Sadly, it always gets worse, before it gets better.

But the problem has become so widespread it's harder to stop and harder to pinpoint the issue. Stop focusing on politics, this isn't about one side or the other, it's about the loss of lives. Students not wanting to go to school because they fear for their lives, and even about having to worry if you'll make it through the school day.

If both sides of the political agenda could just genuinely focus on how to fix this problem and stop telling each other they're wrong, we may be able to stop this thing.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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