When Character Really Counts

All of us encounter what I’ve heard described as the “piles” of life. Those times of heavy burden when we wonder if we’ll ever be free of it. It is at these times when our character matters more than ever.

I’ve recently encountered a difficult situation part of which is my own fault and part not. There are 3 different difficult scenarios I’m walking through at once and each has built upon the other affecting my focus, energy and effectiveness.

When I’ve mentored others in similar situations, it has been easy to encourage them to stand strong in the face of trials. To stand strong, hold your head high and hold your character even higher. I have to admit it is much harder to show good character when the barrel of the gun is pointed in your direction. Never the less, I am walking each and every day in my own admonitions. But here is how I believe we come through adversity stronger on the other side.

  1. Don’t blame others
    Looking for scapegoats, pointing fingers, placing blame and casting yourself in the role of victim is as old as Adam and Eve. It is weak and useless. When we do this, we think that it will deflect the disdainful scrutiny and liability off to others when, in fact, it does exactly the opposite. If anything, it compounds the focus more deeply on ourselves and increases the certainty of our own culpability.

  2. Don’t make excuses
    Making excuses to cover or minimize the impact of our actions is another victim role play. Making excuses is another way to point fingers or lay blame. Maybe not at others, but at the extenuating circumstances that were beyond our control; that lead to our negative behavior or outcome. Since we had no control over what happened we’re not to blame for the outcome. To put it bluntly, it’s a form of lying in an attempt to cover for mistakes. Again, this doesn’t work. It only adds to our troubles.

  3. Own up to your errors
    We know when we’ve made a mistake. If you can’t turn a mistake around before it becomes public, admit it when you’re wrong. By owning up to the error, you often lessen the negative consequences a superior will impose. By admitting wrong, you actually bring others to your side to aid you in fixing whatever the problem. Deflecting only drives help away. We actually gain respect when we admit we were wrong.

  4. Stay positive
    It’s so easy to bury our woes in negative emotions toward ourselves and those who reprimand us. Negativity is like gravity: the more there is the heavier it weighs upon us, driving us down and increasing our feelings of anger and bitterness. Bitterness is an evil emotion that turns our insides black. Cast off negativity by increasing your positive self-talk and encouragement. Re-focus the negative energy you feel toward your superior or peer by thinking uplifting thoughts about them and changing how you feel about them. The more you’re able to flip your dislike into like the more you will send positive energy to them and change the relationship by beginning with yourself.

There’s a great quote by 13th century poet, Jalaluddin Rumi: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

If you want to see positive change, start in your heart.

Character counts most when we are at our lowest points. We re-build from the inside by accepting our shortcomings, admitting our wrongs, remaining positive in our relationships with others, while we encourage ourselves in the act of self-improvement. The road to health and wellness in all things is through positive growth. Stand tall, be strong and realize your fullest potential.

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