Self-Transformation Series:
Issue No. 4

Character Development

Table of Contents

  1. Importance
  2. Difference between Personality and Character
  3. Values and Character Qualities

I. Importance

A wholesome character is the foundation of true success -- inner peace, personal effectiveness, meaningful life. It is also the basis of genuine spirituality.

II. Difference between Personality and Character

Personality is the outer shell of a person: physical, emotional and mental habits, usually based on acquired conditionings. Character is the deeper nature of the individual, usually based on principles rather than just acquired habits. It is the essence of accumulated experience.

III. Values and Character Qualities

  1. Self-Acceptance and Self-Confidence -- This is the proper regard for oneself -- neither inferiority complex nor self-conceit. Avoid comparing oneself with others. Just be your best. Accept whatever is your best. Never be embarrassed with what you are after you have done your best.
  2. Courage and Absence of Fear -- Courage is the determination to go on even if one is afraid. Fears are obstacles to a meaningful and happy life. We must know how to handle and diminish our fears -- including fear of dark, fear of people, fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, fear of animals, fear of heights, etc.
  3. Self-Discipline -- Self-Discipline is the subordination of the body, emotions and thoughts by the higher will. It enables us to do what needs to be done without the delay or obstruction of unwholesome personality habits or attitudes. It enables us to conquer temptation. Related traits: Determination and perseverance.
  4. Integrity and Honesty -- Integrity means strict adherence to code of moral values. Honesty in daily life is possible and desirable -- including business and professional life. Integrity and honesty grants us peace of mind. Honesty is the basis of true interpersonal relationship; its opposite is deception.
  5. Love and Concern for Others -- Concern and action for the welfare of others is the source of human happiness. Genuine service-orientedness is key to success in any endeavor -- business, career, projects, human relations, etc. It includes kindness and consideration of other people's feelings, as well as the suffering of animals and the protection of our environment.
  6. Cheerfulness and Optimism -- Amidst the difficulties of life, these traits make life brighter.They give us strength to go through adversities. These qualities make a person likable. Related quality: Positive Thinking.
  7. Loyalty and Reliability -- We must be loyal to our commitments, whether expressed or implied -- commitments in marriage, in work, in friendship, as a citizen, etc. Reliability is an outstanding trait of an effective person -- it is the source of advance and success in whatever we do.
  8. Fairness -- Fairness is necessary for peace of mind; its opposite are traits like greed, selfishness, or lack of wisdom. An attitude of fairness enables us to accept consequences of conflicts -- honors, court decisions, sharings, profits, etc. We gain the respect of others, and hence become more effective in our work.
  9. Selflessness and Spirituality -- Mature persons are no longer absorbed with their own personal needs. Selflessness is the foundation of true spirituality. Spirituality is not the same as religiosity. Spirituality is a growing awareness and experience of our unity with the Supreme Being, with other people and with nature.

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Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment be made to:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines

"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."