Character matters. It always has. And, of course, it always will. But these days, it seems to matter more than ever. That’s because we live in an age of widespread narcissism. A culture of entitlement, relativism, and permissiveness has fostered this. And It has kept all too many folks from outgrowing the natural egocentricity of infancy. When you don’t outgrow your narcissism, you can’t develop the character necessary to be socially responsible. (See also: Narcissism Spectrum.)
Character matters so much because it affects every aspect of our lives. It impacts our interpersonal relationships. It goes to the core of our intimate relationships. Character affects our family dealings, our community relations, and even our business affairs. Every social ill we face ultimately stems from character issues. And laws can’t save us from these ills. We’ve tried that. Only a change of heart can turn things around.
Character isn’t something anyone is born with. It has to be carefully nurtured and developed. And that’s a really tough task in a narcissistic age. That’s why character matters now more than ever.
Sounding the Alarm
My first years as a professional therapist dealt me a major shock. Like so many others, I was trained to help people deal with their unconscious fears and insecurities. And I envisioned all my clients would be decent people simply beset by “hangups.” But to my surprise and chagrin, the lives of most folks I saw were a shipwreck for a much different reason. The very ways these individuals saw things – their core beliefs and attitudes – and the habitual ways they dealt with things were themselves the problem. All that was a reflection of their character. And I became quickly aware of how inadequate traditional perspectives and approaches were in fostering character growth.
I started sound the alarm about the problem and the reasons for it in the late 1980’s. I did so mainly in workshops for professionals. And I continued to do research and to write about my findings, advocating a new approach. I wish I could say open arms greeted the message. Then I wrote my first book, In Sheep’s Clothing. That changed my life. Validation came pouring in from everywhere. And the book became an international bestseller. Then came Character Disturbance, The Judas Syndrome, and How Did We End Up Here? And I’m humbled to think these bestsellers have helped change the lives of many toxic relationship survivors for the better.
Character Matters – The Radio Program
Several years ago, I was asked to consider a weekly broadcast on character matters. The internet-based network UCY.TV was not quite ready at a technical level for television at the time. But the Sunday evening at 7 pm Eastern radio program quickly gained a following. And it’s been most edifying to witness the message spread to a wider and wider audience. But sadly, and for reasons not easily explained, the UCY.TV network will be ceasing operations this coming weekend. And that means Character Matters will have to find a new home if it’s to stay on the air. News of the network’s pending demise came just days ago. So, there’s been no time to prepare for alternatives, and it’s not likely there will be a resolve to the situation anytime soon. But the message and purpose of the program remain important. So, I’ll be exploring all possibilities.
Character matters enough to me – to all of us – that I’ll continue to try and spread the message of its importance any way I can. I’ll update the readers on the status of the program, which will have to be suspended until further notice. All the podcasts will remain on YouTube, on the UCY.TV channel. And for the time being, the UCY.TV website will remain up with all the links to the program and contact information.