The tragedy of our times is that far too many folks lack the attributes of character necessary to function in a mature, responsible way. It’s a problem that affects every single aspect of our lives. But we all have it within us to be better persons. Make no mistake, becoming a better person is no easy task. For one thing, many of us have traits in our personalities that make it particularly challenging for us to attain healthy self-mastery. And there are aspects of modern culture that make the task even more difficult. A climate of narcissism, self-indulgence, entitlement, moral relativism – all factors that “enable,” promote, and even reward poor character – makes it hard even for a well-intended person to rise above the negative influences around them to forge a solid character. Add to all this the fact that many of us emerge from our formative environments either too emotionally scarred or too “unprepared” life lesson-wise to lead a life of integrity. So, becoming a better person is a real challenge to be sure. But with the right motivation, guidance and support, it’s an achievable task.
All my books have dealt with character in one way or another. In Sheep’s Clothing exposed those who, despite outward charm and civility, are ruthlessly conniving, manipulative, and controlling. And Character Disturbance explained the inner workings of all the unhealthy personalities you’re likely to encounter, from “garden variety narcissists to heartless psychopaths. It also explained why traditional psychological perspectives and intervention methods are so unhelpful in dealing with these types. My most recent book, How Did We End Up Here?, is meant to help those who’ve found themselves in the midst of or trying to recover from a toxic relationship, scratching their heads about how things got to where they are and how they can manage not only to pick up the pieces and move on but also to minimize the chances they’ll be victimized again. It’s a practical guide to “surviving and thriving in a character-disordered world.”
My book The Judas Syndrome was the first to explore just what it takes for a troubled soul to find higher purpose and how genuine faith can truly save a person from their baser self. And soon, I’ll be releasing another book, again with co-author Kathryn Armistead, on the essential building blocks of character. It will greatly expand upon the “10 commandments of character development” I first introduced in Character Disturbance and explores in depth the principles and crucial life lessons one must embrace to forge a sound, healthy character as well as how to best advance these principles and lessons in our character-impaired age. Becoming a better person has never been an easy task. But it’s even more challenging in our times. Kathy and I hope our new book will help advance this most noble cause.
Over the next several weeks, and in anticipation of the new book’s publication, I’ll be posting several articles on character development issues. These articles will be interspersed with other timely articles on how to cope with those who have failed to learn the lessons necessary to become a better person.
I’m pleased to announce that after a week’s delay, the Kindle version of How Did We End Up Here? is now available on Amazon.
This weekend’s Character Matters program will again be a live program, so I can take your phone calls.