Strength of character

Strength of character

I was having a bad day recently when everything got too much to handle graciously. And then I rediscovered strength of character.

I had tried a few of my oft-implemented tools:

  • breathing
  • meditating
  • writing stream of consciousness.

Nothing really dulled the feelings of woe.

So I persisted and struggled on, forgetting my own repeated advice to:

  • “let it go,” and
  • “don’t struggle against the universe”

At last, in desperation, I stopped and had a good look at what was really required. And it hit me. At that moment I realised it was strength of character. I needed to believe in my fundamental ability to carry on.

Although a definition is not clearcut – for me I understand and use the term to indicate having a spine and not collapsing when life gets tough. So many mixed metaphors here.

Here is a definition offered by the urban dictionary.

Strength of character can be defined simply as the amount of strength one has towards negative actions or deeds. Taking the moral high road with the strength to stand up for your beliefs and do what is right, regardless of how it may make you look or what money it may cost you. High moral fiber and the courage of your convictions held strongly.

urban dictionary

The theory

I regularly read about Minimalism and Stoicism and recently listened to a book by CS Lewis about Christianity. I am familiar with some Buddhist ideas and a few tenets of the realms of mindset and personal growth.

The reality

Yet sometimes a bad day arrives. It presents an opportunity to step out of the theoretical and into the practical application of beliefs and skills collected for just such a day.

My moment of clarity highlighted for me (whatever the philosophical or religious framework underpinning my daily choices and actions), that strength of character is a useful and helpful trait to acquire.

Can one acquire a trait? Or only a skill?

I should think combining one’s beliefs (for example Stoicism which says we have no control over external circumstances, we have control only over our reactions to these) with various skills (breathing, stretching, heading outdoors) can help with clarifying and supporting strength of character.

I believe being mindful about desiring strength of character helps with one’s control of thoughts and the choices we then make.

I should think that being knowledgeable of and invested in our own set of values is also likely to help attain strength of character as we have something on which to rely.

I had to look up values as opposed to morals, and have included the definitions below.

In ethics, value denotes the degree of importance of some thing or action, with the aim of determining what actions are best to do or what way is best to live or to describe the significance of different actions. Value systems are proscriptive and prescriptive beliefs; they affect the ethical behavior of a person or are the basis of their intentional activities.

Wikipedia

The urban dictionary links our morals to strength of character as they are the beliefs which underpin our choices and actions.

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion, or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal.

Wikipedia

And then I had to look up Ethics too as I found myself immersed in philosophy.

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that “involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior.” The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.

Wikipedia

What I set out to propose is that strength of character is an extremely desirable characteristic of a life well-lived. It lends self-confidence and self-reliance to our days.

Most of us have some bad days. And many good days.

Strength of character is what gives us the ability to hold and digest the bad days. So if we have 2 elements –

  • a personal set of beliefs and values (for me Minimalism, Stoicism, Buddhism, Christianity)
  • a personal set of practical tools (for me breathing, stretching, water, nature)

– we can rely on the combination of these to support our strength of character and thus our ability to handle the passing tough times.

Because we want to come through the experience unscathed. In fact, we want to learn from the challenges of life. Adopting the ability to see every challenge as a learning opportunity rather than a disaster, allows us to keep on growing. It also engenders a more positive outlook, helping to dull the pain somewhat.

Strength of character is about independence and taking responsibility for our lives.

I believe it goes alongside religion of beliefs.

I believe we can build our strength of character by making its priority and keeping it alive in our box of tools for when we next have a bad day.

Yesterday as part of my day, I tried to install a plugin on this site which crashed everything. Late at night I eventually closed my laptop and went to bed. This morning, in a very different, and more positive frame of mind, I tried again. After a few calls to my internet service provider and website host, and some thinking and learning – I tried again. And now all is working.

I also changed the picture on my home page which says to me simple and beautiful.

Here are the brand new and very worthwhile pages which are now reconnected to my site. They offer access to some free training which I did when I started out on my own digital journey creating A Simple Beautiful Life, online. Enjoy.

And finally – I have decided that I want to have strength of character.

Do you?

In closing – please note that I am not a professional healer of any kind and am referring to general bad days with this email and not specific traumatic events.