In deeply knowing ourselves, we have the power to elevate ourselves. This takes both right intention and firm resolution. But we can do it. That’s what inner transformation is all about.
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.
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
Self-esteem is about our sense of what we have going for us. Self-respect is more about what we have done with our gifts. And both reflect the kind of relationship we have with a “higher power.”
The takers and users among us aren’t just arrested in their character development. They’re spiritually arrested, too. Humble gratitude for the gift of life is a linchpin of healthy character.
Egomaniacal thinkers attribute everything they’ve ever achieved solely to themselves and their greatness. To acknowledge any higher reality would only make them feel both dependent and indebted. The haughty among us want no part of that.
Authenticity is not so much a character trait as it is a state of being. To be authentic, you have to choose to be transparent. Doing so naturally makes you quite vulnerable. But it also opens the door to true intimacy with another.
Each and every moment is an unearned gift. And it’s up to us to make every moment count. We do that by living each moment mindfully, in communion with the larger reality that connects us all. And whatever you call it, it’s this “higher power” the narcissists among us refuse to even recognize let alone serve. Truly noble characters place all their trust in this ultimate reality, and not in themselves or anyone or anything else.
True generosity is generosity of spirit. It can be as simple as a kind word to an overburdened store clerk. Yes, it can mean giving money to those in need. But it’s really more about the spirit (and character) of the giver than the need of the recipient.