A Woman with Integrity
A woman with integrity is an elegant woman. Having integrity is more than having morals or not cheating/stealing, it is about being a woman who is dependable and who has principles. She is definitely not a push-over.
What does it mean to be an elegant woman with integrity? Let's look at some definitions of integrity.
Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.
In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions.
Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. - excerpt from Wikipedia
As you have read above, there a few ways to define integrity.
Having integrity is an integral part of being an elegant woman.
I think that having integrity is very important to being an elegant woman. It is not so much about just being honest and true, but is also having a consistency of character.
There are many kinds of people in this world, but if you aspire to be an elegant woman or pride yourself as being one, you have to have this uphold this value a notch higher than everyone else.
Integrity is a Characteristic of Elegance
Integrity is more than simply being honest and true.
For example, a person with integrity would not steal. But pretty much 99% of people would not steal as well. However how many can say that they've truly would not, in a hypothetical case when there are no consequences and much benefit to gain?
There is a difference between someone who would not steal because they do not think it is right and someone who would not steal because they might get caught.
It is a challenge to value having integrity in a world where speed and benefits are everything. There are so many companies that invest dollars to provide free stuff, free content, apps, information, tools and not only do customers not pay, they make a huge fuss and complain a lot as well.
I'm saddened by so many stories of people who have helped others in the past, and those very people turned around and bit them.
Copycats of FlyladyA good example of this is of one fantastic lady (see *Flylady.net), who struggled with housework and keeping her life in order. She figured it out and then devised an online system to help others...and for free too. At the end of the day, everyone needs to eat and pay the bills, so she keeps her business and herself afloat by selling carefully sourced products on her website.
She became very popular and have lots of fans.
However, it came at a price. There are some really mean people who wrote nasty emails to her (I get them too sometimes, and used to feel so hurt.) and worst of all, there were those who have been using her system turned around and copied her business and tried to steal her customers. She had to send out a humiliating email to ask copycats to stop.
I understand what it means to be inspired and then suddenly feel as though you've got the same calling, but at least credit some of the work back to her.
Actually this happened to me too. In my early days, there was this girl who wrote me long emails and I shared very generously with her and told her very personal details of my life. She sounded like a huge fan and I suppose looking back, was fishing for information. After a while, I stopped responding to her emails because elegantwoman.org grew bigger and I was learning so much about the web and figuring out how to best present the work.
She then started her own website, and even used descriptions loosely copied from my pages. She toyed with a few themes similar to mine, until she found a bigger niche of a site (pertaining to women still) and decided to port over. In some sense, I know who she is copying now. I am familiar with it because the owner of the original very popular site wrote to me (and even bought my books). Some of my business friends felt that I could try to 'take her down' or at least send off a few warning emails. After all, business people are aggressive about protecting their business.
Actually, I'm fine with all that. After all, who am I to say that I own a particular niche? I'm actually happy that all these might make the world a better place, with everyone being kind to each other.
I guess the two things that kind of hurt was when I'd had been open and generous towards her, and she sounded like she genuinely liked me and believed in my work. I guess I was caught off guard when she criticized my work on her site, had her friends write bad reviews and then in those reviews say that they know of a better site...and then direct readers to HER site. Not only that, in the 2-3 times that I chanced upon her site (usually when I'm googling for my elegantwoman pages) I never once saw she credited me or my site at all on topics identical to my niche. It was as though she wrote me off.
Anyway I don't read her site because it's not really the kind of information I'm looking for, so it doesn't really bother me.
So now, that we're on the topic of integrity, I don't think I would respond in the same nasty way. I'll just put my blinders on and do my own thing. I also don't feel the need to respond to nasty comments. If you're in a situation that you can relate, remember you are the ELEGANT WOMAN, and you don't have to bite back. It takes more strength and character to be one that takes the higher road.
Many times I get emails telling me of hurtful situations they are in. Women who are facing others who are jealous of them, or spiteful or just plain nasty. The best thing to do is ignore them. However, there comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself. Don't ignore them and be a mouse, hiding in your hole. If it gets overboard, speak to the person in a calm way privately and tell her that you don't appreciate such manners.
Consistency in Character - Is your word reliable?Another characteristic of integrity is consistency. There is a certain truthfulness that comes along with it. If you truthfully value people as they are, and not by how much use they are of to you, or what their status is or how much they are worth, it is easy to treat everyone in the same manner. That is one of the most distinguished qualities of class.
Having integrity also means your character is consistent and is of a certain standard. For instance, when if you had agreed to a meet-up with a friend, you stick to it, and not cancel at the last minute. Neither do you adjust appointments just because something better came up (within reason of course) at the last minute. It might be too far to say, if at all, don't change, when you've made arrangements with someone already, unless the situation is an absolute emergency. An elegant woman's word is reliable and dependable.
It also means that you'll be punctual. Better yet, at least ten minutes early in all appointments. There will be no "I'm sorry I'm running late." text messages from you.
Portraying the Truth - Not Faking Your current StateIntegrity also means that you don't pretend or let anyone believe something that you're not. You try to accurately portray yourself or situation.
Benjamin Millepied makes a really good example (in my opinion). Some years ago, he rose to fame for choreographing the dance sequences for the movie Black Swan (and also for marrying Natalie Portman). In this interview, the interviewer (albeit annoying) asked him how does he manage it all... do all that he does and run his company. Benjamin then quickly clarified that he registered his company (so that he can bill his clients properly and for tax purposes) for his choreography work, which is separate from his current job. That means, he is the company. There is no 'company' - in the sense like there is no office buidling, with a receptionist and a management team.
He was quick to not let people think that he had a big company and was running it. Some people might let the media think so, to perhaps impress them, or to portray a bigger success than they truly are.
You may watch his interview here back in 2010.
How does this apply to us?A woman with integrity chooses not to fake her current state. For instance, she'll not try to pass on anything that is fake for something that is real. I'm not saying you have to tell the truth in stark details, such as how much you earn or spend or whatever. I'm saying simply, don't buy anything you can't afford or wear anything that is misleading. It is not necessarily wrong, I mean, everyone has their own choice, but there is something very inauthentic about it. And one of the foundation of elegance is authenticity. There is a difference in buying a bag because of quality and buying a bag because of its logo because of how people would think about you. Ask yourself, what does the bag say about you? Does it truly reflect your current circumstance (your choice of work, lifestyle, financial state)? Spending excessively on things and eating beans out of a can is not an elegant way to live.
Elegant sixteen year old Girl In my Ballet ClassMaybe some people won't agree with me, but in some sense I feel that an elegant young woman shouldn't have too many possessions or be into expensive things, or high end designer brands at a young age. The sophisticated air (or pretenses) of any one below the age of 25 is kind of vulgar. I think of the elegant girl in my ballet class who is a very sweet sixteen year old, who is always groomed, has good posture, is polite, attentive in class and works hard. She is always punctual and if class has not begun, she is either doing her homework or warming up. And who obviously comes from money, but in a very humble way. She wears the same few leotards over and over again, till they are slightly faded but acceptable. They are also not the designer leotards. They are made of good quality but inexpensive and reasonably priced. Her tights are used but never with holes. (I suppose she throws the hole-ly ones out.) She has excellent technique, achieved by years of hard work and patience, and has one of the best bodies for ballet in class but does not take it for granted. Those who take their good bodies for granted sometimes don't work as hard as those who don't have as good bodies. Another very classy trait about her, when asked to take part in the year end performance, she looked a little sad and resigned and said, "My dad says no." And left it as that. No whining, complaining, or explaining.
Being a woman with integrity is worth more than owning diamonds
As the years roll along and I become more mature and less impressionable, I've realize something about the people around me. The things that one may have, materials and success, or the situation that you may be in in, has not much to do with who you are. Yes, your character does influence the outcome of your life, but in many ways, it is sometimes the will of God, circumstances completely ruled by choices and chance.
What I'm trying to say is. Your house or your success does not equate to you. Your lack of success or the size of your bank account does not really define you.
You may have a lot or you may not much, but it does not show whether you are a person with integrity. It is by the way you choose to behave, the way you value others, the kind of decisions you make...all these things say a lot about you, even if you may not necessarily be the most popular, at the first glance. Only a person with integrity has the ability to command a long time respect and admiration, young or old, rich or poor. It doesn't matter what you have now, you can live with integrity and elegance. And you can take utmost pride in that. That is because integrity is something you decide to have. It is a principle you chose to live by.
At the end of our lives, we can look back and be proud of ourselves, because we chose to take the higher road each time.
P.s. Flylady has not requested a link or mention in any way. Neither did we to 'trade links' (i.e. I put a link to her page and she does to mine - this will help both sites rank better with search engines.) I genuinely believe in her work and I think everyone can benefit from her wonderful system.
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