Positive Psychology & Scripture Part IX – Integrity

 

INTEGRITY [Authenticity, Honesty]:

Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions

SCRIPTURE

Psalm 78:72
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

Proverbs 10:9
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

Matthew 22:16
They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.

On a personal note, integrity is something that is very important to me.  I believe it is foundational in the since that we all make mistakes but if someone perceives that you are a person of your word in all things, they have greater tendency to forgive when you mess up.  For some this is very difficult as they have learned to lie in situations when they perceive this will cause less harm to protect themselves from further pain.  However when someone finds out that we have lied it destroys our credibility and people have a tendency to be slow to trust us.

DEFINITION

Integrity, authenticity, and honesty capture a character trait in which people are true to themselves. They accurate represent– privately and publicly – their internal states, intentions, and commitments. These people take responsibility for their feelings and behaviors, and own up to them.

  • It is more important to be myself than to be popular.
  • things work out when people tell the truth,
  • I would never lie just to get something I wanted
  • My life is guided and given meaning by my values
  • It is important to me to be open and honest about my feelings
  • even when it cost me, I always follow through on my commitment
  • “to thine own self be true, and thou canst not then be false to any man.”
  • I dislike phonies who pretend

CORRELATES AND CONSEQUENCES

  • Deci and Ryan’s (2000) claim that measure of integrity typically correlate with measures of psychological well being
  • There is a link between integrity and becoming.
  • self concordant individuals are in the best place to experience growth and positive change.
  • For example, In the business world subordinates may perceive managers who follow narrowly prescribed positive relationships with their subordinates as manipulative.
  • The manager’s authentic and integrative behavior, defined as “being what you are,” is a more effective workplace relationship (S. Herman, 1971).

DEVELOPMENT

  • young children are more willing than older children to call swearing, mistaken guesses, and exaggerations, lies.
  • Young children gave harsher ratings than did older children to false statements that were unintentional as compared to intentional (Peterson, Peterson, & seeto, 1983).
  • The movement toward honesty and integrity throughout childhood does not necessarily continue in adolescence. Almost half of the teen surveyed do not regard cheating as a very serious matter.
  • those who reach the achieved identity status have likely succeeded in creating a self that correctly represents their goals, talents, and values.
  • those who remain in the foreclosed identity status may have a more fictional self that does not correctly represent their actual interest and potentials, which is inauthentic.
  • Rogerian theory says this is because important mentors may approve of the adolescent only when he or she conforms to the mentor’s own desires and expectations.

ENABLING AND INHIBITING FACTORS

  • Parents can discourage their children from lying by emphasizing that the punishment for lying will be harsher than that punishment for the transgression (Quinn, 1988).
  • Psychosocial stressors, including divorce, abuse, and neglect, may also promote lying in children
  • Children may lie by commission or omission to please an abusive parent. skillful lying can be necessary for survival, as the truth may prompt further abuse
  • Inauthenticity happens when mentors and authorities provide only contingent positive regard, without understanding the mentee’s own desires. For example, parents pushing their children to become athletes or doctors may promote the development of false selves in those children
  • Consumer culture may also cultivate inauthentic behavior, by promoting the message that one is valuable or successful only if one has the right look, job, or possessions

All of the information on each of these strengths come from Character Strengths and Virtues (Seligman & Peterson. 2004)

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