Having Integrity To Live Out Your Core Values

Yves Johnson

What are your core values?  Core values help guide you in your daily life.  They help you navigate through the quagmire of lies, deceit, integrity and even love.  There are a lot of core values but let’s just look at one.  Let’s look at integrity.  Integrity is a big word.  It’s nebulous.  The denotation isn’t always inline with the connotation.  One could say that’s how some of us live.  We say we stand for XYZ but upon examination we find that this is untrue.  Some times our words don’t match our actions.  Integrity.  Yes, it’s a funny little BIG word.

Recently, both the Jodi Arias and George Zimmerman trials gripped the American media.  Sides were drawn and people “knew” whether the person was guilty.  This is ironic since most of us weren’t on the jury.  The media doesn’t know all the information either.  The jury were sworn to do the right thing.  Their integrity was at stake as well as the freedom of the two individuals on trial.  Lawyers, the very people trained and sworn to uphold the law, are some of the very ones looking for legal technicalities to help their client.  In truth, that’s what they are supposed to do.  Yet, when one’s toes are aligned with the outreaches of the “line” of truth, then it’s easy to question their integrity.

We live in a time where many believe there isn’t a “truth.”  Rather, we all have our version of truth.  Personally, I think that is a cop-out.  There has to be a line.  If everything is truth then there is a lot of lies out there.  Integrity calls for one to stick with the truth and stand for it even when others don’t agree. Integrity is hold onto a values system while the other is an “anything goes” lifestyle.  As such, how can you hold onto something if there aren’t any rules?

The Nation was split during the Arias and Zimmerman trials.  Racial tensions were high during most of the events and even afterwards.  Expression of one’s feelings in itself isn’t bad. It becomes destructive once we resort to physical abuse or name-calling because the other side doesn’t agree with “our thoughts.”  Integrity.   Yes, there goes that word again.  Integrity doesn’t allow us to force our thoughts and beliefs upon another person.  This doesn’t mean that we will dilute our stance or belief in order to accommodate the other person.  No, if we’d do that then we do not have any integrity at all.  Integrity allows us to stand our ground on our belief and live the life we proclaim.  Unlike those “brave” people on Social Media who are everything to everyone, we must stand for something.  The individuals who vacillate between beliefs and ideas are the ones without integrity.  I’m certain you’ve met a few.  They believe in everything but not one thing in particular.  This escapism allows them to be stay on the fence.  I encourage us all to live our lives through our core values.  If we do, we will be the type of person people can come to in times of trouble.  If we don’t, we embody the old saying, “Stand for something or fall for everything.”  Let’s take a stand today and live a life of integrity based on our core values. In doing so, lets not tear anyone down.  If we do, we won’t be able to build them up later.

Yves N. Johnson is the Founder of Christ Is My Savior Ministries, LLC.  He’s a National and International speaker.  His subjects ranges from personal development to Spiritual Warfare.  His second book, Outside The Wire: Spiritual Warfare, is due out on August 15, 2013.  His debut book was, There Is No Gray In Moral Failure: A Practical Guide In Preventing Financial and Sexual Abuse.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

29 thoughts on “Having Integrity To Live Out Your Core Values

  1. Monica Brinkman

    Yves, well said and written article. I do believe that one thing stands in the way for so many and that is ‘fear’. Yes they may have firm beliefs yet if vocalized or acted upon, they are fearful of the repercussions. This is not an excuse, yet a reality for so many. I do speak up and out – and if people would begin to express their true feelings then we may have open communication and hopefully change.

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Monica,
      Thank you very much. You are absolutely correct. Fear can be a motivator…a motivator to not say something or to take action. I believe a lot of things could be settled if we engage in a more candid conversations. We might not end up agreeing on the given subject but we (in general) will have a true appreciation of the other persons stance. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Kenneth Weene

    It has become difficult in our society to have discussions without each side trying to tear down the others. If we truly speak from our core values and want others to hear us, we must, as you have suggested, start with civility. I really like this quote:
    “Let’s take a stand today and live a life of integrity based on our core values. In doing so, lets not tear anyone down. If we do, we won’t be able to build them up later.”

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Ken, thanks for your comments. I don’t know how our society arrived at this position. I hope we can turn things around. It would be a sad commentary for us as a people if we don’t.

      Reply
  3. Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

    Very good the word Integrity. I have often wondered if most people don’t truly have it but just afraid of it’s meaning and that it may be inconvenient to be so.

    In todays society, integrity is a must. I like your way of explaining that it means taking a stand for the core values you have learned. But what about those whom have nit learned a decent core value?

    Yes, you have raised a good topic for discussion and it does create a balance between morality and obvious other choices which all too many use.

    Thank you for these thoughts a ” little big word.”

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Rosemary,
      Thanks for your kind words. The people who haven’t learned good core values will operate from the values base they have. Obviously values change from country to country. Some of the values I encountered while living in Europe was different than when I lived in South America, Middle East or in the Pacific. Even though those cultures differed in a lot of ways, some things held true: Don’t lie, steal, treat the elderly with respect, etc. If a person wasn’t taught this by their parents/guardians, then that person is at a disadvantage in a sociological setting. Their starting point on things will differ from those “normal” people in society. This could pose problems for them. For those who were reared by family/friends that have good values (see the sample list above), we’re at an advantage of sorts. Howeever, we have an obligation to help our friend that doesn’t know any better.

      Reply
  4. Trish Jackson

    What a great article, Yves. You have addressed one of the biggest problems in our society today, and I love everything you said. Rosemary brought up a very good point – what if a person is raised in such a way that they don’t have a set of core values? Personally, I think that’s where religion comes in. Whether you believe in God or not, religion teaches core values that may not be taught at home.

    Reply
  5. Anne Sweazy-Kulju

    Oh Yves! Your article is timely and spot-on. I find myself arguing with my television news all of the time; I yell at talking heads to “grow some class, show some integrity!” (much to my family’s dismay.) There seems to be a shortage of self-respect and personal accountability. My daughter is 27, and was raised a Christian, with weekly Bible study and all. She feels like an alien among her friends–she is the only one who is self-sufficient and not dependent upon her parents to pay their bills. She does not participate in arguments that devolve into name-calling and other personal attacks. I think our nation’s journalists could take a page from her book–and yours!

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Anne

      Thank you so much. I find myself doing the same thing. I agree with your assessment that “There seems to be a shortage of self-respect and personal accountability.” I know you’re proud of your daughter. I certainly would be. Perhaps we can have her run for office so that we can bring a sense of civility back into leadership!

      Reply
  6. Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when so many are fearful to stand by their upbringing and also feel fearful for taking pride in their standards—standards which are not popular? Yves, you have hit the nail on the head. Integrity and values may not be in vogue, but many should revisit the arena.

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Cynthia,

      Yes, “it is a sad state of affairs.” Prayerfully, love will overrule the hatred. We need to stand by our standards. I don’t know when the lines became blurred but things need to change. The change can start with each one of us. As the saying goes, “Be the change you want to see.” I hope I exemplifly good values and integrity. I don’t want to point my fingers at toothpick in the others persons eye and I have a large 2 X 4 in my own eye.

      Reply
  7. Cherrye Vasquez

    Yves,

    If we can’t stand up for what we truly believe in, how can we sleep at night?

    We will toss and turn and become restless. We must begin to do and speak the things that are just and right regardless of the color of our skin.

    Peer pressure is a tough demon, however.

    Cherrye

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Cherrye,
      Peer pressure is a tough demon. Some times we think peer pressure is something only children deal with. That’s far from the truth. It can be difficult for adults and children alike. What you says is true, we’ll be restless if we don’t stand up for what we believe. The key is, “Do we know what we believe?”

      Skin color shouldn’t matter. Right is right regardless if the person is a Hmong or a Mexican. The key is having that value base from the begining. The more one resist the temptation to do wrong the stronger that person becomes.

      Peer pressure is a tough demon, however.

      Reply
  8. Micki Peluso

    Yves, excellent commentary on one of the most crucial aspects of humanity. If everyone in this world lived lives of integrity, how different our society would be. As Rosemary pointed out, some are raised never learning integrity, but that’s no excuse. In some it is innate to be honest, others learn from eduacation, religion and peers, but no matter how bad their lives are growing up, they will run into integrity at some point. Integrity in a choice one makes for themselves.

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Micki,
      Thanks. Great comments. I wrote a blog on effecting your circle of influence. If we can show them a better way of living…we’ve done our part. Some people will do wrong, just because. I can look at my background and let some of those things tarnish my view on life. I choose to not let the negatives outweigh the bad. If I let the negatives rule then I would leave myself open to do anything. That would be the coward way out. I’d rather take the higher road…the narrow road…the difficult road. Yes, integrity is a “choice one makes for themselves.”

      Reply
  9. Sharla

    Ah-h-h, Yves, you hit the nail right on the head, the target right in the bull’s eye, the apple at its core with your article. Integrity has unfortunately become a bystander in today’s society from the top brass down to the grunt. We must get back to basics where the foundation is built on solid ground mortared with honesty and moral principles for within matters of integrity at its core is character.

    Reply
  10. Martha Love

    Integrity is such an important subject and I do not think I have ever read anything as heart warming as your last sentence, Yves, which has already been quoted once here in the comments but I shall do so again as it is filled with such wisdom that it makes my heart sing. “Let’s take a stand today and live a life of integrity based on our core values. In doing so, lets not tear anyone down. If we do, we won’t be able to build them up later.” Thank you so very much for your ever so inspiring words.

    Of course we all have core values, even if we may not all agree on what is truly helpful to have as these core values. What is a good and what is a bad core value is subjective and personal. But just what we have learned to value is the key to what I think Yves has so eloquently written about in his call to have integrity and live your values without forcing them on others. My feeling is that it is helpful to the cause of us all living with this true integrity he speaks of if we live in an environment with a strong philosophical higher principle that the school, neighborhood, town, state and certainly country holds as an arching value. That is, a principle for the higher good of all that permeates as a reigning principle to bind and bound us together as a caring diverse community. And as I have witnessed it in life, this higher principle generally comes as a true expression of Love, Cooperation, and Compassion and is found in scriptures of all religions, and in some valued expressions and creeds, or in a rede or a commandment such as in: “love thy neighbor as thyself”, “Aloha Spirit” (treat all with love and compassion), “do what you will, so long as it harms none”, “Freedom and Justice for All”, Give Peace a Chance, Namaste, Shalom (well wishing for others), and the list goes on. This arching principle of “goodness” is there to constantly remind us to Try harder and embrace integrity. It seems that Yves is asking us to make these words more than just words but to actually live by them even if it is not easy to do or really even supported by our community. And if we do, then maybe these higher principles will become alive again in our communities. Without a guiding community principle, we are all sort of left out in a swirling pool of chaos and indifference, and may even fall prey to adopt other principles like the almighty dollar that eventually tears us apart and leaves us all separated as a Human Family.

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Martha,

      Thank you for your kind words. I loved the way you worded your response. Yes, it’s all subjective but objectively some things seem to be honored cross-culturally. Things such as being a fair trading partner (honest scales), protecting ones home, or showing love to ones children. Surprisingly nearly all of my values are shared by my non-Christian friends. They clearly know my position and I know theirs. I don’t compromise my values in dealing with them. I think, no I know, this has endeared me to them. One person told me that they don’t believe in all the things I believe in. But this person was drawn to my consistency. Consistency is one of the hallmarks of values-based living. In other words, saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Scripture puts it more succinctly by saying, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

      I wish our society, as a whole, sought “the higher good of all that permeates as a reigning principle to bind and bound us together as a caring diverse community.” I believe we have pockets of this happening. I wish it was more of the norm than the exception.

      I’m coming from a Christian perspective. I don’t have enough knowledge or experience to speak on the other religions. However, you hit the nail on the head. I am encouraging all of us “to make these words more than just words but to actually live by them even if it is not easy to do or really even supported by our community.” This may make it possible to avoid the “swirling pool of chaos and indifference.” Life is too short…lets enjoy it.

      Reply
  11. Monica Brinkman

    Yves,
    Interesting that a recent study was run on how babies react versus older children. Babies and toddlers, for the most part, were very self-centered and greedy. It was impulsive, inbreed to their nature. Not until the children were taught to share and care about others did they react in a humanitarian way – giving freely to others. So perhaps one very valuable tool is that we must, as parents and guardians, instill morals and standards within our children. They shall become what we show them and what they know in their lives.

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Monica, I saw that show. It was rather remarkable. I agree with you, parents need to be the primary people instilling values in their children. Perhaps, this will help negate many of the socialital ills. Regrettably, some parents don’t have good values.

      Reply
  12. Jon Magee

    Thank you Yves. You are so right, integrity is crucial. Why should anyone expect respect and appreciation when our word etc cannot be trusted.

    Reply
  13. Linda Hales

    “Let’s take a stand today and live a life of integrity based on our core values. In doing so, lets not tear anyone down. If we do, we won’t be able to build them up later.” Now that’s a bottom line that defines integrity if I ever saw one Yves. I know this has been quoted repetitively but that is true testament to the value of your words. We’d all do well to analyze our motives in all that we do, say or attempt to pass off as sincere or risk losing our credibility. You mention the legal posturing in the courtroom, a place where we naively believe that we are to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, while nothing could be further from the truth. Dishonest trickery and hypotheticals are the order of the day with lawyers and more often than not, there is no integrity in a system that allows it. Yours is an excellent post Yves with valuable food for thought.

    Reply
    1. Yves Johnson

      Linda, thank you very much. Hopefully, we all can help each other and help start a trend towards less hostility and more honesty. I realize that we live in an imperfect world but that doesn’t mean that we should have a lot of gray areas. I think the less gray and more black or white…the better. Simply take a stance for what you believe. If you’re wrong…so be it. I’d rather deal with a person who has a stance on issues than a person who changes with each person he/she talks to. That kind of person seems to be a bit untrustworthy. Regrettably, some lawyers skirt the lines. We tell our daughters that a half true is a full lie. Let’s take a stand and live a life of integrity.

      Reply
  14. Marta Merajver-Kurlat

    Yves, everyone who commented before expressed my own thoughts. Yet I wouldn’t take integrity and core values for granted in these days and times. The numbers of those whose values turn like an omelette depending on vested interests, convenience, or comfort rank higher than we’d like to think. As writers, even if our work aims to entertain, perhaps we should transmit the importance of such key points. Thank you for a deep, enlightening reflection.

    Reply
  15. Salvatore Buttaci

    It is always easy to judge others from the outside looking in. We allow pre-conceived notions to dictate how we ought to respond, usually notions we acquired that grew out of prejudice and pride.
    The author of this article makes it quite clear: if integrity accompanies our outlook on life, we will never have to fear walking down the road much traveled.

    Reply
  16. James L. Secor

    Yves, this is a very nice sentiment; and perhaps it’s true. I think, though, this is just a symptom of some deeper disease, if you will. Nevertheless, of what use is the sentiment, the want and desire for its realization? What’s the use if you don’t do anything about it? in your personal life? Barbara Kingsolver brings this to light in Poisonwood Bible. Upholding and preaching some ideal or other accomplishes little in light of what you, yourself do in your life–simplistically–to prove it. How many people have put their livelihood at risk because of their beliefs? How many people have put their life on the line for their beliefs? Have you, Yves, lost your job because you would not back down from your moral beliefs? Have you, Yves, had your liberty, your freedom curtailed because of your beliefs? Have you, Yves, had your life threatened and maintained your moral stance? (This is the extreme.) Have you worked–out on the street, as they say–for the betterment of others, even a particular group? Not proselytizing; that’s only talk. Actually doing something.
    I am not a Christian but do not think I am coming down on your beliefs. Few Buddhists hold my sentiments. We call such people who so audaciously practice what they preach Engaged Buddhists. The Dalai Lama is not an Engaged Buddhist; he is a politician (he headed a theocracy in which the people had no say and benefited little). The Tibetan monks who immolate themselves are not Engaged Buddhists; they are narcissists because they want the return of the theocracy and its inherent prestige.
    Rumi noted centuries ago that people who isolate themselves from society, hiding behind walls maintaining that their praying and immersion in dogma are helping everyone are not helping anyone but themselves. They are not Engaged.
    Engaged: what are you doing for someone else without thought of personal gain, that is, just because you believe it needs to be done in the name of your moral sentiment?
    Not just you, Yves, everyone. Sentiments be damned.
    Integrity is actually doing something in support of your beliefs, no? Otherwise, how can you yourself be considered a person of integrity?

    Reply
  17. Pingback: Having Integrity To Live Out Your Core Values |...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


nine − 1 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>