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The 11 Powerful Benchmarks of Character

Character – such a mighty word! It’s really what counts in this thing called life; and its possession is crucial for those of us enduring a mood or anxiety disorder. Let’s discuss The 11 Powerful Benchmarks of Character.

In the manner we’re using it, here’s Merriam-Webster Online’s (MWO) definition of  character

The complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person.

So what will our definition of character be? Well, let’s talk about it…

I certainly concur with MWOs editors as they describe character as a complex – though I prefer accumulation –  of a variety of traits. And the sum definitely provides a detailed sketch of an individual. By the way, I’d add emotional to the mental and ethical traits.

Two other points…

Though character, by definition, is an accumulation; we can’t lose track of its building blocks. This is one of the few times I’m suggesting we lose the forest for the trees. I mean, how could we ever hope to build character if we don’t know, and focus upon, its components?

The other point is, we have to understand that character can be found on both the sweet and icky sides of the fence.

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. In my mind and heart, here’s what character is all about. If you agree, disagree, or want to add something; bring it to us in a comment. That way this truly becomes a group effort.

The 11 Powerful Benchmarks of Character

  1. Being honest with others and self.
  2. Putting aside self to be there for others.
  3. Having the fortitude to do the right thing.
  4. Moving forward when we believe we absolutely cannot.
  5. Anticipating the brightest of dawns in the midst of the darkest of nights.
  6. Admitting we’re wrong.
  7. Learning from our mistakes so we inflict no further harm upon others or self.
  8. Attempting to amend transgressions.
  9. Being open-minded, open-hearted, and fair.
  10. Being compassionate.
  11. Truly being grateful for our most basic possessions: life, health, love, family, friends – and the prospects for having all of them.

Can you see why character is such a precious possession for someone enduring a mood or anxiety disorder? Curious thing is, I believe folks in our emotional and mental situation truly meet the majority of the criteria. I’m just not so sure we give ourselves credit.

And that’s a shame!

The 11 Powerful Benchmarks of Character, in my opinion, are the foundation upon which extraordinary human beings are built. And, again, I believe those of us enduring emotional and mental health disorders are the most extraordinary of all.

Do yourself a large favor. Print this post and take the time to sit-down and ponder the criteria. Make it a checklist exercise, perhaps asking a loved one or friend to participate.

Give thanks and appreciate yourself for criteria met. And if you find you have opportunities for improvement – well, let’s just say you’ve met criteria for #’s 6 and 7. And that’s more than okay in my book.

How ’bout yours?

  • Kvervaecke

    OK- great benchmarks. but my question has to do with number 2. since much of my anxiety is rooted in inadequacy issues (and who else on this site doesn’t have the same problem?) – not being good/lovable/capable enough, how do I know when it is appropriate to put aside my needs to help someone else, and when is it avoiding my issues? (I’m not talking about the parent who would rather read than help the kid with the homework, or the friend who truly needs help) So, Bill, give me a black and white distinction, please. :) Karen

    • Thanks for your comment, Karen. Great question – as a matter of fact, I debated exactly how I was going to word #2 for the potential issue you cite. Yes, we can be very prone to tending to others because of the impact of past trauma, as well as avoiding our present distress. I believe it all begins with personal insight – first of all, knowing we’re capable of neglecting ourselves with ulterior motives. Once that’s handled we have the opportunity to monitor and manage our tending. And I think we can also more easily come to know when it’s time to spend more time with self – our neglect being felt. I also believe the advice and counsel of a trusted friend or loved one can come in handy. You make an excellent point, Karen – and one that leads me to believe you’re on top of your potential for leaving yourself in the dust.