It is not something that can be easily measured on a societal scale. Older individuals may claim that integrity decreases as younger generations come to age. Younger folks will say that older generations have selective memory. I don’t think there is a way to tell who is right. Not that it matters. I do know that lack of integrity gets more headlines than honesty.

For me personally, as I see more and more stories everyday showing the dishonesty by this party or that, this person or that person, I am understanding the importance of protecting my own integrity. We are surrounded by a society that does not encourage conversation or solving problems together. Instead it is much easier to find something our opposition has done, that is worse than what we have. Why is it okay to wrong someone and instead of coming to terms, apologizing, and working to get better we instead work harder to smear them? Integrity is not achieved by being the best of the worst. It is achieved through conscious effort on a daily basis.

Sticking to your commitments, no matter how small. Not giving in to gossip. Owning when you screw up rather than looking for a different way out. Even as I write this I can think of what a poor job I’ve done of living with integrity. I’ll try to do better, starting right now. It might start small but I’d encourage everyone to protect and build your integrity on a daily basis. While we are at it lets help others build theirs too.

Hold people accountable and talk to them, not blast them. Don’t put people in compromising situations. Treat people as individuals and not their affiliations. At the same time, take responsibility for who/what you affiliate with. Major change has to happen at an individual level first. If we all change and grow our circle, eventually the edges will touch.