Over time, a deeper character is revealed

We think we know our character based on our past history. In truth, there is so much more of us to reveal. | Visit IreneBradford.com

“Character is not created in times like these, it is revealed.” A great line from Louise Penny’s mystery, The Great Reckoning. It’s liberating to think our character is a storehouse of possibilities, where given the right moment, our behavior, belief or attitude reveals parts of ourselves we might not have known existed.

Our challenges in life can feel overwhelming especially if we believe our life will radically change as a result. Even with goals and dreams, fear or trepidation arises as we take that first step. The fear arises as we step away from an identity we have knowingly or otherwise created. Me. We think we know our character based on our past history. In truth, there is so much more of us to reveal.

When the environment within which we work, create or live challenges our beliefs, attitudes, hopes and dreams, our first response is usually instinctual (even if we never act upon that initial reaction). The Big Bang. Instinctual reactions contain all the things we’ve tried before along with the strong emotion we felt before. The fact of being challenged at all can shake our beliefs/attitudes (and provide wisdom, on the positive side). If we pause before our usual response, and watch our thoughts and beliefs, we create distance from the emotion and give ourselves space to more clearly see our options.

At first, watching our thoughts is like shining a bright light in an unused room of our mind. We see only cobwebs. These cobwebs are old attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may not work for us now. Rather than run from the cobwebs and dust, exclaiming “that’s not me!” or “that MUST be me, and wow, that’s scary.” We can pause, take a deep breath and commit to exploring our mind and heart, and eventually, do some spring cleaning.

The more aware we become of our habitual way of responding and push ourselves to develop more encompassing and permanent solutions, the more happiness we create in our lives. Each success illuminates the growth between who we were when we responded initially and the person we revealed when we saw the challenge through. This approach takes time perhaps, but the gift of greater self-awareness and joy more than compensates. As we mindfully assess a situation, clarify and act on our best approach, our resume of personal success grows. With curiosity, mindfulness, and patience new attitudes, beliefs and behaviors arise. Over time, a deeper character is revealed.