Character Flaws; Everybody has them!  

A patient came to my office because she was upset that someone was named
a saint by the Catholic Church. As a child she knew the women and
didn't like her. Once she had seen a character flaw in that saint.
Years later, she was still angry about it. Sinners and saints all have
character flaws. Some are much worse than others. These flaws tend to
aggravate us. You recognize them in others.
Character can be defined as that blend of virtues and flaws that make up
your moral fiber. My personal view is that character is the robe of
qualities, both good and bad, that your soul wears as it presents itself
to the world. We judge a person's character by the flaws that we see.
Flaws make a personality colorful. We all have them and we vicariously
enjoy another person's struggle with them
So when I tell you that everyone has character flaws, you aren't too
surprised. If I told you that it is not necessarily bad however that we
have our flaws, you might think that peculiar. So let me ask your
patience before hand, though if impatience is one of your flaws it might
be difficult.
You, and everybody you know have some flaws. They seem to be
tenaciously ingrained in our being. They tend to stay with us for our
entire lives. Psychologists and Psychiatrists believe character can't
be changed because it is the substrata of personality and far too deep.
They are partially correct. For centuries, however, development of
character has been utmost in the minds of educators. Today it is
self-esteem. (Yawn) How standards have been lowered. When you do
those things that are consistent with your virtues - those things you
esteem - self-esteem takes care of itself.
Character flaws have traditionally been seen as the key to discovering
your self potential. Each and every flaw that creates havoc in your
life is the key to uncovering which virtue you must work on in order to
discover you full potential.
Everybody has certain character traits that they are born with. If you
have raised even one child you know that to be true. Freud and his turn
of the century colleagues, though well intentioned, mistakenly believed
we came in "Tabula Rasa." That means "clean slate," empty. They
believed that nurturing molded one's personality. But we humans aren't
that simple.
In the East, Vedantic philosophy talks of Samskars or ingrained traits
that are carry-overs from past lives. These Samskars color one's
character. They are the deep issues that carry the "Big" karmic
Western society, being scientific, believes in the idea that some of our
traits are biologically programmed in. Simply speaking, you were born
with it. It is your nature. These character traits then are by
definition relatively impossible to change. So character seems to be
looked at as a relatively static mix of good and bad traits that make up
your moral fiber. For millennia though, both East and West have dealt
with the issue of these almost intractable negative character traits.
Changing character has been a priority since the dawn of civilization.
In order to change these flaws, you need to know what they are and how
they effect you.
What does a flaw look like? I address this issue thoroughly in my
upcoming book, Flawless! - Your top ten character flaws and what to do
about them. Let me give you a quick preview. Do you know anyone who is
addicted to being right? You probably know more than one. It is the
most common of all character flaws. How about a person who is
chronically dishonest? You probably watch the same politicians as I do,
who would rather stand on their heads to lie when they could more easily
sit down and be honest. They go the extra mile to deceive, not because
they choose too, but because they are compelled to. Character flaws are
experienced as compelling. That doesn't let any one off the hook.
Do you know anyone who becomes quickly enraged? I call that flaw
"Raging Indignation." You might be able to get away with it if you are
a dictator somewhere, but unfortunately most people who have it are
lucky to be someone else's boss. What about Inadequacy? Have you ever
noticed that some people use inadequacy as an excuse for everything.
"Don't blame me. I'm inadequate and don't want any responsibility,"
they say to the Blamers and Resentful. Blame is another common flaw.
The list goes on and on. I will outline ten major flaws for you over
the coming weeks. Hopefully you will get the idea that you have one or
two of them already. Or better yet, you will come to realize that the
flaw has you and it is time to do something about it.
There are ample reasons for trying to change a flaw. Don't buy the
excuse that character can't be changed. God can change anything, even
your character if you are willing. As I identify flaws this winter - or
better yet as you identify a flaw or two within your character - become
willing to change. Life will provide the lessons to teach you how to
let go of the flaw. I will give you some guidelines, and guidance for
dealing with them.
If you recognize that you came into this world as an imperfect being ,
become willing to acknowledge that imperfection and see what happens.
You can change your character. Usually it takes something profound. We
call these character building events. For some it is a trauma or an
emotional bottom, for others an event of unusual joy. Regardless of
what it takes for you, remember that changing even one flaw into a
virtue will literally change your destiny.



Thirsting for God

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