One of my favorite quotes from Nathaniel Hawthorne says:
“No man for any considerable Period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true”
Character... The personality defining difference between what we say and what we do (publicly or privately).
These past couple months have been a sneak peak into peoples true character. I’m an observer. I watch people. I listen to people. I then decide how close I want them to be. This might offend some, but I don’t care. We live in a world where boundaries can be considered offensive oddly enough. We live in a world where people can look you in the face and lie to you without a single care. We lack character as a whole. That’s why we are struggling SO BADLY in everything that’s happening right now.
I struggle big time with this. I have a very hard time understanding WHY people do the things they do or say the things they say. The more I “investigate” through conversation, the more I realize people lack the defining process of words. Words have meaning right? “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will cut you deeper than you can imagine” is how it should go. I don’t want it to sound too negative though. Words are just as helpful and inspirational as they are hurtful and damaging.
**DISCLAIMER** By no means am I judging anyone for what they say and do. Even 2pac knew “only God can judge me”. So I leave it up to God.
But What I can do is question. I’m questioning the definitions by which we live. I am a very literal person and I believe what I say. I know what words mean and there is a REASON I say what I say. In talking to people over the years, it seems there are quite a few who do not know if what they are saying is true or not. When I ask questions, they don’t know where they got the information from or if it was even a credible source. In a world where we are taught to question everything, it seems it may have back fired a little to where its also hard to believe anything.
I this world of “rhetoric” people find it easy to be offended because they either don’t know what you are talking about, misunderstood the context in which it was said, have a hard time accepting their actions may place them in a particular group with similar actions, or refuse to accept they are a part of said stereotype.
It’s just interesting to watch.
For example: There is a shirt that I’ve started seeing quite a bit lately that states “I love Jesus but I cuss a little”. Again, I’m not judging. Because you are free to wear it, I am therefore free to question... I mean, you can be offended by me placing you in a category, and I can be offended by the categorically misrepresentation of my reality of “Christian”. See how that works?
That’s just an example, and there are endless examples just like this.
Simply put, that is why CHARACTER is so important.
It’s how you are perceived through the lens of others. How do others define the world around them? It’s not about you... But at the same time... It is.
A long time ago I had to write an obituary for myself. By far the hardest philosophical/existential thing I had to do considering the, lets call it, life stage I was in. I found myself trying “key word” to find the “good things” about myself. Needless to say, they were few and far between. I would stretch the truth a little to make myself look better as if it mattered. I was dead in this scenario.
At the end of our life, we will inevitably question our existence, our impact and our character. Below are some questions I consistently ask myself, my wife and my children concerning who WE are, and how we fit in what we believe our purpose is. Maybe this is a start? Not sure if you even care. But what I do know, is that we, “the world”, are in crisis mode. If we do not know who we are, and what we stand for (strongly) the downward spiral will will consume our culture and there will be no turning back from the division and malice that seems to be at the forefront of every conversation.
How do you want to be remembered?
How will people remember you as of now?
Do those questions align?
How do your words meet your actions?
What set of boundaries and/or definitions do you live by?
Are YOU consistently YOU?
Or are you wearing masks to others or yourself?
Don’t talk about it, Be about it.