If Character Is Lost, Everything Is Lost
Character – a single but very complex word that is somewhat difficult to grasp for many. A word that depicts a thousand different views and a thousand different qualities. For many years, people have tried to construct a single but all-encompassing definition of character, but because of its complexity, it has been impossible for many to provide a single, distinct definition of character, for it includes diverse qualities that would represent an individual.
In psychology, character is defined as an individual’s pattern of behavioral traits (Stolorow, 2012). A part of one’s personality, character is a powerful element that shades light to an individual’s self. Character gives us, if not totally, a partial insight of who we are, why we exist, and how we exist. Character is a part of one’s being; the one aspect that gives color to life. This is why character is an essential part of oneself.
It is indeed true that without character, everything is lost, for character molds an individual’s identity. And without it, life would be meaningless. Character gives definition to our being; it enables us to feel, think, and act according to our environment. Character is the expression of ourselves. It allows a person to express himself and be who he is without limiting himself of his capacities and abilities. Without character, we may come as mere human beings, breathing but not living.
Consequently, character gives vibrancy to communication and enhances an individual’s relationship with others. Supposed a man who is attracted with a woman wants to court her. A man without a character, despite his efforts to relay his message, would not be able to express his feelings of love to the woman. On the other hand, a man with character would be able to express his feelings for the woman easily. It is in this scenario that we can understand how character affects the way we communicate with others.
Another importance of character is that it makes each and every individual unique from one another. As the German musician, Michael Schenker would say, “I believe that every person has uniqueness – something that nobody else has.” With character, individuals become distinct from one another, making them special and an important part of a system. It enables each and every person to know and discover their interests, skills, and abilities and enhance them through training and knowledge acquisition. Through character, one is able to identify his needs and wants; thus, enabling the person to adapt to his environment and adjust himself to the demands of his surroundings.
Character also enables an individual to know more of himself. Through the discovery of one’s character, an individual is able to set apart his real self from his ideal self. Real self pertains to the authentic self of an individual. It represents the true identity of an individual – that is, the negative and positive sides of oneself. Ideal self, on the other hand, pertains to the idyllic self of an individual. It represents the traits an individual prefers and wants for himself.
Through character, an individual is able to know more of his real self and ideal self and, at the same time, enables himself to integrate these two entities, enabling a person to be whole and complete; making himself as a living human being capable of thinking, feeling, sensing, perceiving, and expressing himself to others.
Indeed, character is an essential part of one’s being. It enables us to communicate effectively with others, discover ourselves – enabling us to realize our potentials, and mold our own identity separate of others. Without it, there is nothing; without it, everything is lost.
- Stolorow, R. (2012). What is character and how does it change? [Article]. Retrieved June 25, 2017, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-relating-existing/201203/what-is-character-and-how-does-it-change