The big difference between character and personality and why many times, the excuse “I’m just like that” doesn’t work.
Having four children being so amazingly different from each other reminds me all over again that we are all made with different personalities.
That even coming from the same family, having the same parents, education and background, siblings can be so different, perceive things so differently.
When I talk with my own four siblings about our childhood, one could sometimes think we did not have the same parents. Even if we agree for different situations we all remember… the details we remember, and what touched us of it is quite different.
And that’s the beautiful thing about how we all are created in a unique way. There are personality tests and I think they can be an interesting thing to do. However… we are much more unique then that. We are not the way we are, simply because we are that or that kind of personality in the test. The combination of who we really are, is much more amazing, unique, special and precious to this world.
It took me many years to become what I really am. As in the family I come from, being extrovert is not appreciated. It is seen as a threat to their authority, they felt it is too tiring, and simply too loud. So, I grew into believing that being extrovert is bad and that I had to be “nice, polite, quiet and fitting in the crowd” to be socially acceptable. On the same time, I was struggling with people who acted extrovert, they scared me.
Through the process of healing I went through in my life – and very much through my husband, who loves the “extrovert, expressive and challenging” “part of me – I discover just how much extrovert I am! In a new environment I sometimes struggle to be that way, but every time I can be “just me”… I feel alive, happy and free in it.
Therefore… the different personalities are beautiful. I love and support the uniqueness of people, and I love to see how my husband, my children and the people I have the privilege to speak into their life, unfold in their unique personality.
However, there it comes. When people say “I’m just like that”, mostly it’s about Character. And character can destroy everything that is amazing about the personality.
The character is like the keel on the ship.
For those who know something about Ships, they are aware that the Keel is one of the most important part of a ship. It can also be called as the spine of the ship. Like a man’s backbone it supports the whole structure.
Same goes for the character. In every life there will be “storms”. In every life there will be challenges, people who hurt you, situations that are unfair. The question always is: What do you do with what happened to you?
Many adults, living in a free country don’t know that they are not a victim of what happens with them. I didn’t. As I learned about, it brought me great freedom and on the same time great responsibility. Because I understood that I can’t be victim and victorious at the same time. Either I do understand that my character will greatly influence the outcome of my life – or I will stay in my victim mentality, thinking that everyone else is stronger, and more capable, with more success, then I ever will.
That all the challenges in my life have nothing to do with my personality. That God did not a big mistake in creating me. that I’m not “unlovable” or “never enough” with whom I am.
It has always to do with my character, and how I react to what happens to me.
- When I realized that, I started (slowly and with the little I felt I had at that time)., being thankful for what I have. Little or much of time, money, friends, work… . Just being thankful.
- I started to be faithful in the little. No matter what situation I found myself in, what position, responsibilities, even strength or courage… I started being faithful with what I had, giving my very best I was able at that very moment.
- I stopped the victim mentality. I decided to believe that not everyone else is more important, more amazing, more special and wonderful. That I am needed. I am wanted. And that I’m not a failure.
- I started to ask the real question: What do I do with what happens to me? Am I thankful beyond the situations and struggles? Am I faithful in the little, giving my very best with what I have?
Being able to answer these question with a “yes”, I knew that I am on the way on which we all need to be: Growing in our character. Let our Keel grow strong and solid. That, in times of storms, we can boldly sail through it, instead of sinking – just because of our Keel that failed to carry us through.
Each one of us can learn to rest in this truth that we are amazing, beautifully and wonderfully made.
This understanding will set us free to grow in character, and become the best we can.