Plato divided humans into three operating parts: reason, passion, and appetite. He further said that right behaviour results from harmony or control of these elements. The ability to govern ourselves and the power to resist temptation begins in childhood with the following attitudes, behaviours, and skills:
- dealing with stress, frustration, and change in a controlled and calm fashion;
- controlling one’s temper: does not yell, fight, hit, kick, push, name-call, bite, go into tantrums, throw things;
- staying calm when excited, frustrated, or angry;
- able to relax, especially in difficult emotional situations;
- being patient, waiting for one’s turn, not interrupting, but listening instead;
- regulating our sensual appetites and passions, pursuing even legitimate pleasures in moderation;
- delaying gratification in favour of higher and future goals;
- living within one’s means, being frugal;
- being modest, balanced, not extreme; and
- recognizing the difference between needs and wants and concentrating first on needs.
“Either we rule our desires, or
our desires rule us.”
The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete). In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty, fairness, responsibility, and many more that indicate consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.
This concept of consistency of principles, values, expectations, actions, and methods comes with maturity, but begins in childhood. It is demonstrated by being:
- steadfast in adhering to and standing up for your own beliefs and principles even when it is hard or inconvenient;
complete and undivided;
- sound, unimpaired condition, being in a perfect or whole condition;
- incorruptible: cannot be degraded or changed from good to bad;
- truthful, not hypocritical, not pretending to be what one is not or feigning to believe what one does not; and
- ethical, conforming to accepted standards of conduct.