Spiritual Growth Inspires Character

Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is all about deepening one’s awareness. And the awareness I’m talking about is of the innermost workings of the heart. It’s also awareness of the inter-connection of all creation. As we evolve spiritually, we begin to see the bigger picture. We “wake up” to a broader reality. (See also: Spiritual Awakening and Character Growth.)

Spiritual growth and character growth go hand-in-hand. You see, it’s all about relationship. Healthy characters have the capacity for healthy relationships. And the most important relationship we can have is the one with our “higher power.” (How folks conceive of a higher power or reality varies.) Now, some folks have poor to nonexistent relationships with that power. For example, narcissists can barely imagine a such a power. (See: Narcissists Can’t Recognize a Higher Power.) And that’s the root of so many of their problem behaviors.

The Spiritual Roots of Character Growth

In Character Disturbance, I introduced what I call the 10 Commandments of Character. The commandments describe the essential life lessons we have to learn and take to heart to forge a character of integrity. And, as many of you know, I’m still working on a whole book on the topic.

The work in progress means more to me than any past work. Why? Because it’s more than just another book on character and its importance. Rather, it’s a testament to what life and years of clinical practice have taught me about how we actually achieve it. And because I believe so firmly in how much character matters, perhaps now more than ever, I want to get it just right. Moreover, because I believe a spiritual awakening is so fundamental to attaining truly healthy character, I want the book to be more than just an expansion on the principles I introduced in my earlier work.

All the great spiritual masters have had something to say about the attributes of truly noble characters. Folks of solid character are in right relationship with themselves, with those they encounter, with the world in which they live, and with the universe that conferred life upon them. They don’t just see the big picture.  They know they’re part of the picture. And ardently strive to be a loving, giving, integral part of this grand enterprise we call life.

The Spiritual Side of the “Commandments”

You can, of course, find the commandments I’ve been talking about in Character Disturbance. You can also find them in several articles on this blog. See, for example:

But what you won’t find is an elaboration on the spiritual dimensions of these commandments. That’s why I’m taking such care in re-writing my upcoming book.

In the coming weeks I’m going to be previewing the revisions of my new book. And I’ll be quite interested in the comments by readers. The comments should help me solidify my thoughts. And they should inform me if I’m on the right track.

Revisiting the 10 Commandments

To reacquaint you, here again, in brief, are the 10 Commandments:

  1. You are not the center of the universe. Be mindful of how you, your urges and desires, and most especially your behavior impact everyone and everything else that exists.
  2. Remember, you are not really entitled to anything. Therefore, strive to be grateful. And show your gratitude by honoring your obligations, thus meriting respect.
  3. You are neither an insignificant speck nor are you so precious or essential to the universe that it simply cannot do without you. Keep a humble, balanced perspective on your sense of worth.
  4. Have the utmost reverence for the truth for it can truly set you free. Be ever mindful of humankind’s incredible capacity to deceive, including oneself. Honestly and humbly acknowledge and reckon with your shortcomings and mistakes.
  5. Master your appetites and aversions.
  6. Be Mindful. Think before you act. Be the master of your impulses.
  7. Strive to develop solidity, strength, and rightness of purpose, with regard to your will.
  8. Anger and human aggression are not inherently evil. But fight only when necessary; fight fairly; and above all, fight constructively and with as much care as possible to make things better while respecting the rights, needs, and boundaries of self and others (i.e. assertively).
  9. Treat those you encounter with civility and generosity.
  10. To the best of your ability, be of sincere heart and purpose.

Next week I’ll be revisiting the first commandment with a new, spiritual growth emphasis.

Character Matters

Follow the link to the pilot episodes of the new Character Matters program.


20 thoughts on “Spiritual Growth Inspires Character

  1. Thank you for the ten commandments. My greatest struggle was how to fight with someone who doesn’t fight fair, especially when that person was my husband. Tools for how to do this would help. The most critical period, I found, was the period between deciding to leave and being able to leave – where if he found out I’d be at his mercy. I got through it best I could. When I remarried I confessed to my new husband whatI did and he laughed. He said, “What he did to you all the time, you did to him once – and you did it well”. I felt much better then.

  2. Off Topic

    Letting go. This was the year of letting go of unhealthy relationships. Without this site, the knowledge I’ve gleaned from reading Dr. Simon’s books and articles, I would not be at this reckoning in my life.
    This past year I’ve disengaged (but not fully) from two long-term friendships of 30+ years that I’ve come to realize are harmful to my emotional well being and that I’ve chosen to just stop the madness. Having overcome the trauma of a emotionally draining long-term marriage I’ve come to realize I really don’t have to stick with friendships that no longer suit me, in fact, ones that are draining.
    I’ve learned that just because I have a long history with someone does not mean I’m forever stuck in it.
    Lived. Did what I thought I was supposed to do.
    Unlearning bad advice life tips.
    Scrutinizing where before I’d accept.
    Trusting those who are worthy of my trust.
    Making the tough decisions to end relationships that are no longer conducive to my well-being.
    Aging and realizing this is it – make good decisions.
    Don’t waste valuable time on unhealthy, ungracious people.
    It’s the people that count, not the stuff.
    You can’t pick family but you can set boundaries.
    You can pick friends and you can also realize they are not the type of friend you want to spend time with.
    Put to use the hard lessons learned by offering help to others if I can. At least they can read my experiences, possibly relate to it and feel comfort in knowing that they are not crazy, but that weird/bad things do happen to good people.
    This has been a year for sure – it’s getting better with each difficult choice I make.

    1. Lucy,
      Thank you for sharing. I’m grateful to hear your truth and know my experience is so close to yours. Not to only support but to make different choices that are for our highest good. I’m still in the middle of a divorce and honestly it is so hard to acknowledge I was married to such an evil sick person .
      I’ve heard not to fight or they will destroy, steal and just about anything. …. how true but I still am standing in my truth and trust. Stuff means nothing but NOT standing in integrity and truth after all these years is not an option.
      Thank you again!

      1. Sandy,
        Sounds like you’ve got a grip on yourself, are not losing yourself, your core being through the divorce while being hammered by, as you say, a evil sick person. That’s the type I divorced, but on top of it he happened to be a disbarred attorney, so he could represent himself. A nightmare.
        This type can wear a person down for sure, make you feel sick, make you feel hopeless with the constant emotional abuse. When you feel worn down, just sleep, take a break, you’ll regain yourself again to continue the fight. I feel for you . . . . . I really do . . . . But when you know yourself, have values, they just don’t go away. They stay with you. They can steal your stuff but not your heart and soul.
        Keep reading these articles and you well be well-armed for the fight. You’ll be an expert of his disorder and be able to predict what he’ll do next. They are predictable. Mine was pretty much whatever the sensible, right thing to do he would do the opposite. Every darn time.
        You hang in there friend. And keep us posted.

    2. Lucy, love your comment as it describe myself at the moment.
      Is incredible how we feel when is come the “aja” moment, and how difficult is emotionally and spiritually to take the decision to take ourselves out from a relationship that just leave us emotionally, spiritually and physically bankrupt =)
      People often said, we just need to take the decision to leave, that is true, but during the period of finally see clearly, taking the decision and understand why we need to leave is a living hell.
      Information is power, and Dr. Simon with his books is empowering us to understand and the most important recognise the damage people and hopefully we can stay away from them.

      1. Angela Leon

        It is a long learning process isn’t it? But when we do reach that aha moment it is so clear what we need to do to become well and live a healthy life.
        Not only have I learned about how to deal with the CDN now X husband, but I’ve also come to learn a lot about myself, the choices that I’ve made, many of them terrible choices, and how to learn new habits, new way of living cleaner, ridding the toxic from my life as much as I can. It can be a chore when it surrounds you. But life is certainly much less stressful and ugly now.

  3. It’s difficult to maintain a pure and spiritual perspective when there is so much anger in the world. And so much of it manifests online. I take regular long breaks from it now.

    The flip side of the real help, spiritual and otherwise that people can receive online is the damage that excessive rumination can do. We all need to work on our characters, not just people with disorders. If we have been victims of abuse we have to understand that being a victim doesn’t automatically place us on high moral ground. It can increase our own potential to be abusive and or manipulative and dismissive.

    I am suspicious of people, online and in the real world whose entire lives are a litany of relationship disaster. There is little chance of this happening if they have perspective on where they fit in in the scheme of things….if they are assuming any responsibility for their impact on others.

    Those who feel they are constantly having to deal with damaged “others” need to look at themselves, too. And this is best accomplished offline in the real world.

  4. Some of the perks of being a VICTIM include the following:

    Not having to take responsibility for anything

    Other people lavishing you with attention

    Other people feeling sorry for you

    Other people are less likely to criticize or upset you

    You have the “right” to complain

    You’re more likely to get what you want

    You feel interesting because you get to tell people all of your stories

    You don’t have to feel bored because there’s too much drama going on

    It just boils down to Revering the Truth: Character’s 4th Command

  5. Yup…how about this one. “My place is a mess. I collect things I don’t need and I can’t help it. I am helpless to control my shopping….helpless. I am attached to my possessions because they hold precious memories (subtext…I have such a big heart)”

    “I keep acquiring pets..not one or two. I have several so I am wracking up huge vet bills and again…I can’t help myself because…I have such a big heart.” (This one I can usually completely sympathize with but sometimes it represents childish self indulgence and can lead to pet hoarding.)

    People who won’t control themselves invite chaos into their own lives and that chaos overlaps into the lives of others. I contrast them with people who have mental health problems who really can’t control themselves.

    Anyway, there are any number of ways to disturb others while believing you have the moral high ground. Moral crusading takes some odd forms!

  6. ” of people, online and in the real world whose entire lives are a litany of relationship disaster. There is little chance of this happening if they have perspective on where they fit in in the scheme of things….if they are assuming any responsibility for their impact on others.”

    Below is a list, of WHY PEOPLE DO THIS

    Some of the perks of being a VICTIM include the following:

    Not having to take responsibility for anything

    Other people lavishing you with attention

    Other people feeling sorry for you

    Other people are less likely to criticize or upset you

    You have the “right” to complain

    You’re more likely to get what you want

    You feel interesting because you get to tell people all of your stories

    You don’t have to feel bored because there’s too much drama going on

    It just boils down to Revering the Truth: Character’s 4th Command

    1. I think the above points Joey made regarding the CD playing the victim are very true. The CD know exactly how to play the victim and truly believe they are the victims.

      How ironic, the CD victimize everyone else and the same tactics they use to victimize is what they claim you did to them. Crazy making to the max. The mirror reflects all their negatives onto you.

      Revering the Truth sets one free.

  7. “I am suspicious of people, online ”

    And you are justified in being suspicious, because they are playing the victim, that was my point.

    It was not aimed at you.

    I think I am going to stop posting

    Take care all of you, BTOV and LUCY and ANDYD


    1. Joey, LisaO,

      I will miss both of you, especially you, Joey. Joey, you have had a profound effect on my life and I will always remember your kind words. Know, both of you are always welcome.

      Take care and God Bless.

    2. Goodbye joey and LisaO. Wish you all the best.
      I am sure if you are not providing insightful comments here, then you will be helping someone around you. I too lately had been less active here… I guess just like a healthier person who cuts down visits to clinics. :-)

    3. Joey and All,

      I am suspicious of people on line too. However, knowing this blog which is monitored by Dr. Simon renders a sense of safety most online forums do not offer. Knowing that Dr. Simon has written 4 best selling books and in the process of another, writes numerous articles, hosts his own call in radio program open to callers, gives ongoing training seminars, has numerous Youtubes and answers individuals via personal contact supports truthful transparency that is found in few venues.

      I am suspicious too and have to admit I have met many unscrupulous individuals whom I am fairly adept at weeding out and some are extremely covert and it takes time to see them for who they are. I have also met many fine individuals too, some of whom have become friends.

      Of all places I think this blog is relatively safe. I have to say after a while we do build a report with each other and most respect each other for who they are and their boundaries. Many have not walked in our shoes and it may be hard for them to understand our pain and suffering though they may think they do. I think this is where at times at least for me, become somewhat hurt and perturbed.

      Just thinking and welcome all input.

  8. Hi Joey,

    I know it wasn’t aimed at me. I was commiserating with your point of view. I bowed out quite some time ago to focus my limited energy on people who I can have real relationships with.

    Being online so much is toxic for me, not good for spiritual growth.

    Congratulations on all of your remarkable achievements in your life since you originally posted.

    And I bid everyone goodbye as well. It has been a tremendous learning experience and very valuable to me in every way. Thank you and thanks to Doctor Simon

  9. LisaO Joey

    I’ll miss you both. You’ve both help in support of me and brought your own truths and life’s dealings in your post which has given me lots to think about.
    Off-line relationships are important. While going through issues such as we’ve gone through, which brought us to this site, this site, the articles and comments have been a tremendous help to me, help that I could not have gotten with a counselor nor a friend. The issues are so complex that most people do not know how to support us while going through some issues.
    I’ll stay here to help where I can and hopefully still get insight into whatever is gnawing at me at the time.
    Although I most definitely was a victim of CD abuse, and now enlightened, out of that relationship and now nobody’s victim and I intend to stay out of CD’s life as much as possible. Knowledge is power. That’s what I’ve gained here.
    I’ll miss you two. Darn . . . .

  10. The growth of one’s character is truly achieved together with spiritual growth. Thanks for reminding the readers by sharing the 10 commandments.

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