The Importance of Keeping One's Word

Posted by nick_niesen on October 26th, 2010

I recently watched a movie called, "The Promise". So many little truths and realizations jumped out at me that I thought I would share some of them.

In the movie, there wasn't just one promise made, there were many. And as the movie progressed, I realized that there are often consequences to not keeping one's word. The damage doesn't just occur to oneself but also to the people who suffer loss from the broken word or promise.

If someone promises something and does not follow through, then the individual who was counting on and put their faith in that person's word learns mistrust. That lack of trust may extend beyond the person who broke the promise towards others as well. Following this logic, the health and structure of a society could be affected.

Therefore, the lack of integrity is a double-edged sword. It cuts both the giver and the receiver. The giver of the promise will no longer be trusted and can no longer trade or work with the betrayed based on the strength of that person's word. Both parties have lost. If the ripples of betrayal extend beyond the two people, many people can be affected.

In the case of a personal relationship, the cost of a broken word is more than just the loss of trust, it includes the inflicting of deep hurt on the person who was mislead. For example, the vows of marriage are supposed to be sacred. The personal and emotional cost for breaking them can be devastating for both parties. If there are others involved, such as children, it can wreak havoc on them as well. Their lives will be disrupted by the break up of the family or at the very least the ensuing cloud of mistrust that exists between the leaders of the household.

In business, a person's word has to be good. If you cannot keep true to your word, you cannot be trusted and when that happens, how can you continue to conduct commerce? Credit lines will be cut and personal contacts, which are so valuable in the business world, can be lost.
Integrity is important at every level and in every aspect of society. Without integrity the very fabric of a system, unit or society can begin to crumble. Without integrity, what is a human being? A person loses everything through lack of integrity. He loses even respect for himself in the end. When the truth of it dawns on him, he may even begin to believe himself to be worthless.

The solution is to cultivate integrity. Strive to be a good and truthful person.

In fact, integrity is something that has been taught throughout history. It is hinted at everywhere, when you tune into it. Even in modern times the founder of a meditation practice called Falun Dafa, teaches Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. He must think integrity is important. In fact, one can find the idea and importance of integrity emphasized in many religious teachings throughout every age of man. Don't the noblest of people hold the idea of integrity as dear?

Integrity is more than just an idea. It is a practical and necessary character trait in order to have any lasting success in this world. True, some can achieve success through a serious lack of integrity, morals and ethics. However, it is like a house built on shifting sand, bound to fall sooner or later.

And if the fall or payment for lack of integrity doesn't happen in this life, perhaps the payment manifests in a bad way in the next life. Whether you believe in reincarnation or in going to heaven upon death, or that you transcend and survive death in any way shape or form, it seems that it would be hardly worth rejecting integrity in the present.

Even for a person who believes that nothing happens upon death, that life simply ends, the practical aspects of integrity in everyday life are evident. There are rewards in business and personal relationships for acting with integrity, loss of status and pain await those who overlook this virtue. Wouldn't it be a good idea to cultivate integrity in our daily lives and actions right now?

If we each work on our personal integrity as individuals, we can collectively begin to build a better world and a better society for our children and ourselves. Isn't that worth striving for?

Also See: Persons Word, Upon Death, Ones Word, Keeping Ones, Integrity, Word, Promise
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