Personal integrity reaches its height in the absence of pretense. The truly decent character has searched his/her heart, knows it well, and strives to keep it pure. This takes a great deal of persistent mindfulness.
From a spiritual perspective, character is less about heeding the moral rules and more about our relationship with that undefinable something bigger. It’s about standing in awe of the gift we’ve been given. And it’s appreciating our inherent indebtedness. That’s what inspires gratitude.
To be of sincere heart, one must first be of humble heart. And to be of humble heart is to stand in awe of a much greater reality.
Sincerity of heart and purpose means harboring no hidden agendas. Sincere folks don’t try to get things in a slimy, underhanded, or undeserving way. They’re as true to themselves as they are authentic to others.
Most of us regard the “golden rule” as a noble ideal but totally impractical guideline. So, we instead live by the principle of doing to others as we have judged that they deserve. And that, in a nutshell, is why our world is so full of conflict
Abusive relationship partners are often relentless. They hate to miss an opportunity to denigrate and dominate. And over time, their victims can begin to see themselves in the same negative way their abusers cast them.
Fair fighting is fighting with principle. It’s strong advocacy tempered with care and concern. When we fight fairly, with principle, and with care not to needlessly injure, we build instead of destroy.
Fighting dirty is fighting without principle-guided limits and boundaries. It’s placing winning over everything and using whatever tactics or psychological “weapons” you can think of to secure the dominant position. Such fighting is the destroyer of relationships.
Assertiveness is fair, principled, disciplined, fighting. And it’s the kind of just self-advocacy coupled with mindful concern for the impact on others that defines healthy character.
Willfulness has a positive and negative side. A strong will can be one’s foremost asset. But it can also be a great liability. A properly formed and guided will is essential for sound character.