Truthfully Speaking

Choosing to have integrity may cost us all that we have.

Truthfulness, honesty, integrity, and other words which speak to upright living, are ones which ought to be encouraged for every human to possess. In last week’s article, the importance of integrity, being something for which we should continually strive, was the focus. The other point, and certainly no less compelling, was that while it seemingly appears to be disintegrating just about everywhere we look, endeavoring to maintain and cultivate our own was more imperative than denoting where it lacks in others. Truthfully speaking, there are complex and multifaceted issues when trying to define the true meaning of integrity.

The dictionary uses terms such as “having strong moral principles” and “moral uprightness,” and the moment the word “moral” is introduced into the conversation, there is no way to continue without raising red flags or opening the proverbial can of worms. My intentions are never to be construed as a commentary on what is right or wrong, or even moral or immoral. I have no desire to induce, encourage, or even prove that my perspective ought to be anyone’s sole criteria.

Nevertheless, there are some acts that uncategorically signify the nature of true integrity.

When a person puts his or her own well being at risk for the sake of others’ rights and dignity, that is an act of living on moral principle. When a person’s fortune or reputation is jeopardized or sacrificed for the virtue and respect of another human, is there a higher bar to meet?

Two subjects that are always controversial are religion and politics; both of which have histories of demonizing and vilifying their opponents. However, when others stand up against their own religion in defense of what is perceived as a moral flaw in spite of the inevitable consequences, that takes courage as well as integrity. Going against the partisan ideals of your political cohorts in an effort not to trample the oppressed and downtrodden – knowing their future reputation is at stake – this takes a sense of fairness along with integrity. What both of these examples share is a humanitarian principle and concern for the welfare and good of someone else.

On rare occasions, I’ve been accused of impropriety merely for trying to help others. It’s disheartening. I often wish there was another opportunity to explain and make my intentions known but none have ever occurred. I cannot change what happened but I can learn from those moments to minimize them from occurring in future situations.

I know in my own heart what my true intentions are. My purpose for being on this planet will not be deterred by anyone’s accusations or actions. And, if during the course of my journey everything is taken from me, I’ll begin anew with the same optimism and enthusiasm which I share today.

It would not be fair to define my above statement as one of integrity since I have not found myself back at square one, and truthfully speaking, hope I never do. However, I am willing to take that risk daily if that’s what’s needed to help others.

Perhaps you or someone you know have lost everything because of choosing to have integrity. While I would not wish that on anyone – especially in the defense of others – ask yourself, would you make that choice? I’m not sure if there is a more sincere way of showing it.


John Dunia
John Dunia
John has a passion; and that is helping others heal from past difficulties and abuses. Healing became important when he realized how much it freed him from his own past and now works to help others experience that liberation. The key to his success was discovering that the most debilitating damage was his own shame and the destructive things he believed about who he was. Throughout his own healing journey, he became hyper-aware of how shame was affecting him while having little clue of its presence. Others noticed these changes and reached out to him for help. His methods were so effective that he made it a mission to shift his career into helping others. Adopting the term “ShameDoctor”, he continues to teach others to empower themselves through his remarkably effective techniques. “Shame is one of the biggest yet least talked about issues we face as individuals and society yet so very little is mentioned about it.” It is his purpose to change the way the world perceives shame and promote helpful and viable techniques to heal and overcome those past struggles. John’s book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based thinking” was self-published in 2016. In addition to working with clients, John also writes healing and insightful articles each week. He is also looking forward to speaking on the topics of shame and healing throughout the globe.

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  1. Interesting and delicate issue, John.
    Moral integrity is one of the most significant qualities that a human being can have. In the era of instant gratification, completely and immediately, of easy solutions, finding people who are intact, faithful to healthy and self-determined principles, is not a trivial matter.
    Some believe that having moral integrity means being loyal to duty, having respect for the rules or for the authorities.
    I believe that true integrity is independent of all this, which has to do with doing the right thing when nobody is watching, when there is no Facebook to tell it.
    To better define the concept, perhaps you have to start with those who do not have this integrity.
    Imagine a person who acts primarily for recognition, who puts his or her interest ahead of that of others, a person who presents himself as ethical and altruistic on the surface while in reality he has nothing else at heart than his own personal gain. Well, people who have integrity are at the opposite extreme. Healthy people have authenticity, gratitude, humility, forgiveness, trust, responsibility, patience, determination, leadership, courage, heart.
    The latter is perhaps the main feature. People who have moral integrity are people with a big heart, who know how to love, spend themselves for others when there is need. External recognition is of little importance to them, they help and respect because it is in their nature to do so, because they recognize the fragility of others and want to protect it instead of exploiting it for their own personal advantage. The whole person respects even at the cost of losing, it is right even at the cost of looking naive or stupid.
    We have many examples to follow in the world. Regardless of who we choose to be, however, we must always consider that our choice and our presence in the world have an impact on others, and that this impact will in turn have an impact on us. Therefore, we cannot do what we want, even and above all when it seems that nobody is watching, when we do not see how our actions can have negative consequences on our lives. The consequences, as Joel rightly says, are always there, and those that are not seen immediately are the most dangerous and insidious, because they are the ones that set in motion the mechanism of karma, of the law of universal justice, of the return of energy to the source.
    Developing moral integrity serves precisely to keep conscience clean, to become a positive, peaceful presence in the world. It serves to ensure that the energy imbued with respect and love that we emanate with our thoughts and actions returns back, making our life easier and more peaceful.

    • Thank you Aldo for a great comment.
      I wonder if you had anyone in mind when you compiled your list of “those who do not have this integrity.” If it’s the same person I have in mind, let’s just say he’s been the prime example of how NOT to be in plenty of my articles.

    • Thanks for being patient to read my verbose comment. I appreciate it very much.
      No, I have no particular one in mind among those who do not have this integrity. I am very advanced in the years, it has been hard to emerge in the profession also and above all for having experienced many cases of poor integrity. The important thing is to stay calm, believe in yourself and face situations with patience because in the long run values emerge.
      Thanks again for your attention.

  2. WOW! This is a very powerful and thought-provoking article. To lose everything because you showed integrity can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. In this situation, it is very easy to second guess yourself. Although this is not a rare occurrence one should not have to choose between the two. My feelings lean towards my religious beliefs as there are values we taught that have been around longer than many can conceive of. Whichever direction you go there will be ramifications.

  3. What a powerful topic, John. Thank you so much for offering your meaningful thoughts and reflections about integrity.

    As someone who choose her life, dignity, and self-respect by ending an unworkable marriage, I lost belongings, an entire extended family I felt bonded with for 22 years (for them divorce = death). I don’t consider this “losing everything”-but as I was living through this I felt utterly unmoored. The life I had lived fell away. I braved the wilderness into a new life with an experience of wholeheartedness and a liberation of my soul that I didn’t even know was possible while I was inside the marriage. Some people judged me harshly as they held strong opinions about marriage/divorce. I clearly was rejected-kicked out of the family.

    For me living true to one’s deepest, most core/heartfelt values is living with integrity. To heal the walking paradox or imposter syndrome that we can become (for a variety of reasons) takes great courage and clarity, intestinal fortitude, self-awareness, many steps. Becoming whole, integrated-aligned as best we can-heart, mind, body, soul-thought, word, deed….that’s an evolution, a transformation from the inside out! This path often involves becoming independent of “belonging” or “fitting in” with the belief systems of other people or groups of people-being willing to think, feel, and experience for yourself the “truths you hold as self-evident.” It involves belonging to yourself, your values.

    Limiting beliefs of groups of people can run strong and deep and keep people from questioning those beliefs for fear of rejection.