Ever heard of the phrase “a character-less person”? Often when that phrase is used to describe someone, it refers to the person’s physical display of behaviours. But the actual truth is what lies beneath this physical display – the truth is in the thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, beliefs, and intentions – all of these things combined then result in the actual physical display of behaviours.

And that particular behaviour when it plays out once, we don’t label that as one’s character…we may label it as a mistake or a coincidence or luck or accidental. That particular behaviour when it plays out twice, again, we don’t label it as character.

Instead, we may label it as intentional, or purposeful, or targeted. But when the behaviour is repeated for the third time or more, then we can safely assume that it is part of one’s character…meaning that it is now a set behavioural patterns that is motivated by the person’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, beliefs, and deep intentions, and sometimes even a default mindset based on inherited cultural paradigms such as patriarchy or bigotry.

Self-reflection enlightens the heart and mind

Now that we understand that character is a series of behavioural patterns, not just a one-off mistake or accident or coincidence, and that these patterns have so many facets, is it even possible to develop character and if so, how?

The answer is to have a daily practice of self-awareness and a personal reflection of one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, beliefs, and deep intentions and a long hard critical analysis of all inherited paradigms of culture, religion, politics, and one’s perspectives on the meaning of life and death.

When we reflect on these things we become clearer on our life’s meaning and purpose, we become aware of what we fear, why we fear it, what limitations we have within ourselves or in our environment that affect the fears and insecurities we hold. We also become aware of what potential solutions we could adopt to overcome these fears and insecurities.

Being honest with your own self and really admitting your own flaws and negative choices and being extra kind with yourself to work upon these flaws and negatives is how you develop good morals and character.

Self- Kindness is Key

Replace your harsh and unforgiving self-talk with self-kindness. Self-kindness helps in our journey of positive character development.

It is a daily process of self-reflection, self-kindness, self-forgiveness, and the ability to say to yourself, “Today is a new day. Today, in this present moment, I will choose better, I will be better, I will think better thoughts, speak better words, perform better deeds, and choose to consume better food, beverage, and content. Today, I will choose to be better in every way.”

All goodness starts with firstly remembering your own inherent goodness and then living by that goodness. When we work on ourselves on a daily basis we radiate love, light, peace, joy, and an overall positive character.