Integrity is the cornerstone of trust and relationships. It’s about aligning our thoughts, words, and actions. When we speak of integrity, we talk about the congruence of what we think, say, and do.
Integrity is defined as “think the think, talk the talk, walk the walk, and run the run when that’s required.” But it doesn’t end there. True integrity also means acknowledging our mistakes, admitting errors when we make them, and committing not to repeat them.
Trust as a Measure of Integrity
Trust is when you believe that people have the integrity to fairly exchange value with you. It’s a mutual understanding and faith in each other’s intentions and actions.
Understanding Lies and Human Nature
Lies are an innate part of the human condition. We all lie, consciously and non-consciously, deceiving ourselves and others. Most of us either forgive or at least accept others’ lies to a degree. However, the closer the person who lies is to us, the harder it becomes to forgive them.
Deception by Action and Inaction
Deception can manifest in various ways – by the act of commission or the non-action of omission. Active omission can be as damaging as overt acts of commission.
Courage, Transparency, and Truth
Courage and transparency are intrinsically tied to our ability to be truthful. Without courage, we become susceptible to deceiving others. This lack of courage not only distorts our self-control but also suggests problems with our self-image. Acts born out of lack of courage, whether they are of commission or omission, reduce trust. In extreme cases, these acts can eradicate trust altogether.
Emotional Stress in Deception
Under emotional stress, the likelihood of deception rises. Our thoughts and emotions, intricate and conflicted as they naturally are, can lead to internal, non-conscious thoughts that manifest as lies and other forms of deception.
During times of high emotional stress, our natural reactions are to fight, flee, or freeze. Fighting can either reveal our true colours or further our deception. Flight signifies avoidance, which can lead to acts of omission. And those who freeze in our presence or out of it, illustrate their discomfort in communicating with us.
Egos and Relationships
When egos are unrestrained, they can twist relationships, turning them into imbalanced dynamics resembling predator-victim interactions. Instead of mutual respect and understanding, interactions become dominated by power plays and manipulations. In such a setting, the “predator” seeks control and dominance, while the “victim” feels oppressed or undermined. Such dynamics not only strain the relationship but also create an unhealthy environment for all involved.