What does it mean to have "intentional character"? In today's world, character doesn't seem to matter much. When we threw out any ability to judge another person according to one universal standard, character was thrown out as well. Good character is closely intertwined with morality, and when the definition of a moral person changed, bad character filled the void. Do you doubt what I say? How much consideration have you given to your own character and moral standards? Character traits are targets we should be striving toward. They are not intended to beat us down or make us feel inadequate. But if you are feeling bad because you are not living up to your own beliefs, your negative feelings could be that your internal moral compass is calling you out on your bad character and you are not living true to yourself.
Here are 25 common traits of the 19th century. Consider what would be the opposite trait to each word and which side of the isle do you find yourself living most of the time?
1. Integrity - Do live according to a moral standard and by what standard do you live?
2. Honest -Do you speak, act, and live in the truth?
3. Loyal -Are you able to commit to a person, project, or team?
4. Respectful -Are your words and deeds seen as respectful, and do you gain respect from others?
5. Responsible -Do you keep your word, pay your bills, show up on time, and freely apologize?
6. Humble -Do you consider the value of others as more important than yourself?
7. Compassionate -Do you try to help people who are suffering, lonely, or in need?
8. Fair -Do you distribute justice, consequences, and rewards equally?
10. Authentic -Are you open and transparent, allowing others to know the real you?
11. Courageous -Do you face fear and walk through it because it's the right thing to do?
12. Generous -Do you give freely of your time, yourself, and your resources?
13. Persevere -When facing a challenge, do you press through the difficulty to completion?
14. Polite -Do you speak softly, gently, and do your actions come from a quiet soul?
15. Kind -Are you open to hugs, gentle touches, and do you smile often?
16. Loving -Do you show love in your words, your actions, and through giving time to others?
17. Optimistic -Do you see the good in others, even when they don't see the good themselves?
18. Reliable -Do you keep your word, show up on time, and keep your promises?
19. Conscientious -Are you aware of others feelings?
20. Self-discipline -Do you control your actions, your words, and your anger?
21. Ambitious -Do you take action to improve your life and the life of others?
22. Encourage -Do you speak words that lift others up, so they can believe in themselves?
24. Considerate -Do you look at another's situation and offer ways you may help?
25. Thorough -Do you assess what you've accomplished and look for other ways to improve?
As you can see, these words require action, and that action must be done intentionally. We should return to teaching these words to our children. We should be displaying them in our actions at home. Instead, these words have lost their value and have been replaced by words that do not promote excellence, but instead strive for "equality." How can everyone be considered the same, with equal rewards, and be unique and different at the same time? Can we be both good and bad, weak and strong, equal and exceptional? I don't believe so. When you look at the list, how many of these character traits are rooted in selfish ambition? None. They are all focused on the good of others, how you present yourself, and how you see others as more worthy than yourself. It is rooted in service to others. If you want to be a person of excellent character, you must stop thinking from the perspective of what you want, and realize good character is the gift you give others.
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?
Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have;
so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.
You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive,
because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures."