11 character traits that won’t let you down

what is character

Character is invaluable. And those of us enduring emotional and mental challenges rely upon it for support – even survival. But sometimes we get tired and lose focus. Reminders help…

Learning from our mistakes so we inflict no further harm upon others or self.

As we’re using it, here’s Merriam-Webster’s definition of character: “the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person.”

Let’s dig in a little…

What is character?

I’m in with the description of character as a complex – conglomeration – of a variety of traits. And the collective definitely provides an accurate and useful sketch of an individual. By the way, I’d add emotional to the traits.

Though character, by definition, is a conglomeration, we can’t lose track of what brings it to life – those traits we’re talking about. 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 and sustain character if we don’t know, and can’t focus upon, that which defines it.

We also have to keep in mind that character can be good and not so good.

11 character traits that won’t let you down

Okay, to the point. In my mind and heart, the following traits speak volumes about the value of character. And if practiced consistently, they won’t let you down…

  1. Being good to yourself and others
  2. Putting aside self at times to be there for others
  3. Having the fortitude to do the right thing
  4. Moving forward when we believe we absolutely can’t
  5. Anticipating the brightest of dawns amid 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. Forgiving those who hurt us
  10. Being compassionate
  11. Being grateful for our most basic possessions: life, health, love, family, friends – and the prospects for having them

Can you see why character is invaluable, especially for someone enduring emotional and mental misery?

Curious thing is, I believe folks in our neck of the woods have most of the list handled. I’m just not sure we give ourselves credit. And that’s a shame.

Give thanks and appreciate yourself

Do yourself a favor. Print or save this post and take the time to sit-down and review the traits. Make it a checklist exercise, even asking a loved one or friend to participate.

Give thanks and appreciate yourself for the ones you’re good with. And if you find you have opportunities for improvement, well, get to work.

How ‘bout some more Chipur mood and anxiety info and inspiration articles? Roll through the titles.

  • Kvervaecke September 17, 2010, 2:21 pm

    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

    • chipur September 17, 2010, 2:48 pm

      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.