We are used to hearing that honesty and integrity are the key characteristics of a good student and employee. However, these words have been used so excessively in resumes and job interviews that they seem to have lost their initial meaning. People seem to be completely unaware what it means to possess these features and how difficult it may be to embrace them in the real-life situations. It is easy to say that you are honest, but human relationships are far more complex that one may think, and integrity and honesty may sometimes cost much to those demonstrating them. In my opinion, honesty and integrity are exceptional qualities that allow a person to put the truth and ethical and moral rules before everything else including one’s interests.
At this point, I would like to define these two concepts. Both of them are complex and multidimensional and may mean different things in different situations. Broadly speaking, honesty is the ability to adhere to the facts, as well as fairness and sincerity. Integrity, in turn, is also the quality of being honest but also the ability to adhere to the moral and ethical rules despite any personal interests or outside pressure. From the professional point of view, integrity means a person’s determination to uphold the high professional standards, which in turn implies incorruptibility and sound judgment. In other words, a person possessing honesty and integrity is a valuable member of a community and organization because this individual places moral and ethical values first and can manage ambiguous situations with dignity.
Many people like to think that they are honest and possess exceptional integrity. However, I think that few realize that in the face of any serious problems threatening their career, economic stability, or personal relationships, they will forget about all their principles. When one has financial problems, and someone offers a bribe at work, it may be challenging not to accept it. Or when a friend wants to know your opinion on some contradicting point, you lie because you do not want to hurt this person and ruin your relationships. Sometimes, demonstrating honesty and integrity is difficult because of the blurred lines between what is right and wrong. For example, will you hire your brother-in-law instead of a talented young candidate simply because you know that your sister is having financial problems and you want to help her? Thus, being honest and showing integrity may require much more determination and moral strength than you may think.
Honesty and integrity cannot exist within a halfway policy. In other words, you cannot say that you are honest if you lied before when some serious problems occurred. You should be honest all the time without exceptions to have a right to call yourself an honest person. Similarly, you cannot claim you possess integrity if you sometimes choose to forget about some ethical rules and make decisions based on your own interests. A politician taking a bribe cannot be called honest, and he definitely does not possess integrity even if he managed to achieve something for the community or country.
In this way, I strongly believe that honesty and integrity are not empty words that can be used thoughtlessly. A person truly embracing these values should be ready to face the ambiguous situations with dignity and make difficult decisions despite one’s interests and needs. Sometimes, honesty and integrity may bring many problems, especially when other people around do not share these fundamental ideals. More importantly, honesty is not something a person is born with; it is a conscious, well-thought choice that one makes every day.
In this integrity and honesty essay sample, the author argues that integrity and honesty are not meaningless words but a conscious, difficult decision to respect the moral and ethical rules and act wisely despite personal interests.