To be genuinely open, we have to accept the inevitability of pain. And if we don’t transform any pain we do experience, we’re certain to transmit it.
I must say, I’ve fallen in love with Puerto Rico. I’ve come to love the beauty of the land and the indomitable character of its people. Largely poor by our economic standards, Puerto Ricans are truly rich in spirit. In the midst of hardship, life still flourishes – a testament to both its resilience and preciousness.
Spiritual growth and character growth go hand-in-hand. And such growth is all about relationship – to ourselves, others, and our concept of a “higher power.”
Some problematic cultural norms have become so commonplace and deeply ingrained that we hardly ever think of them. Moreover, we rarely think of the impact they have on character formation. The values a culture promotes and the behaviors it rewards shape not only individuals but also the society at large. Societies of noble character are built upon people of solid character.
Choosing the right relationship partner can be quite daunting. But how a person has behaved in past relationships best predicts how they’ll eventually treat you.
To be of sound character, we must be more than just morally good. We have to be intimately connected to the source of good. Spiritually awakened, we see things differently and are moved to conduct our lives differently.
Rationalizing, or excuse making, is a manipulation tactic. The strategy is simple: get someone to buy into your “explanations,” and your behavior takes on a whole different light. Your intentions look less sinister. And you don’t look so bad in character. Wow! Do bad things, and look good doing them! Now, that’s quite a feat!
Human beings are great self-deceivers. But some of us deceive ourselves so earnestly and so often that we begin to believe our falsehoods, and that really gets in the way of our character growth.
Relationships naturally grow in strength, depth, and wholesomeness in the absence of character disturbance. And when our most important relationships are solid, we can expect the makings of a healthy community. It all starts with character.
Being a positive leader isn’t just about having the requisite skills. Ultimately, leadership is about character.