Integrity and Trustworthiness: A Lost Art?

“You are only as good as your word.” This used to be a popular, if trite and overstated concept. Unfortunately, in many circles today, the mantra may sound to many as some quaint old notion. We all know that, in reality, it’s far more than that. Without high integrity – without an implicit trust that people can fully believe you actually mean what you say – all of our interactions with other people are cheapened dramatically. However, if I can trust you – and you can trust me – then, we already have the most important piece of the puzzle in place for getting along well together. We have the building blocks of genuine friendship and an authentic relationship.

Think about the last time someone lied to you. How did it make you feel? The most natural reaction is to feel saddened and betrayed, and perhaps angry. Someone expected you to believe him/her – and you did choose to believe – only to find out later that you were misled, and the person took advantage of your trust. Consequently, not only will you be unlikely to trust that individual again, you will possibly have a harder time trusting anyone. Your faith in humanity takes a serious hit, and that’s a real shame.

Trust is far more important than it may appear at first glance. In fact, integrity and trustworthiness lie at the very heart of a person’s character. When you trust someone, you are hard-wired to like them more and feel a natural affinity for that person. You are willing to open up and share much more freely because you know this individual has a strength of character that prevents their taking advantage of you in unhealthy ways. No, this is a person with high integrity, a true friend in whom you can confide and trust to be there for you – especially when the storms of life begin to howl around you.

When you make the deliberate effort to live a life of high integrity, you begin to see the world very differently. With pure, unadulterated intentions couched in your own heart, you also begin to more easily notice the best in others. Your worldview gradually softens, as you cease to view the landscape through chilled, cynical eyes. This is not a naïve outlook; rather, it’s a deliberate effort to foster trustworthiness in your own life, which inevitably radiates outward and exerts a positive influence on everyone around you. This effort will be rewarded many times over, as you attract great people and great things into your life.

The world can become brighter one person at a time. Let it begin with you. Make a promise to yourself that your word will be your bond, and never break the bond of trust people place in you. Not only will you feel more centered personally, you will also warm to the human goodness that’s in the world all around you. Indeed, there is elegance and timeless beauty in the “old-fashioned” concept of sacred honor. Its value is truly beyond measure, so take care to protect it with your life.