Man reading a book to build character.

What Are the Forces That Shape Your Character?

Your character is the sum of all your thoughts, capacities, desires, feelings, ideas, actions, and the people surrounding you throughout your lifetime.

What Shapes an Individual’s Character?

When discussing what shapes character, three pillars are often cited.

1. Environment and education.

2. Primitive instincts that you have inherited that might be holding you back in your unconscious mind.

3. Self-pride, which modifies all the other forces at work in a given moment.

Your environment does not only mean where you live. And your education does not only apply to the basic studies required in a public or private school setting. It goes much deeper than that. For instance, who took care of you during your first week of life? Was that person warm, compassionate and caring? Were you held and rocked to sleep? Did someone sing to you? Or, did you receive the silent treatment and very little touching? Was your bottle was propped up with a towel to feed you? You might dismiss this small window of time. However, the thousands of actions performed during the first week of life help to form an individual’s character.

It has often been said that an individual’s first five years of life dictate how they will be for the rest of their life, as far as their character goes. However, everyone knows that circumstances in life change. How you respond to them revolves around your basic character.

Primitive instincts can be defined by a higher state of mind. For example, the ability to displace or conceal your thoughts in any given situation. How you observe a situation is connected to your character. Do you consider yourself an exhibitionist, an observer, or a combination of both? The forces of your character will have you interacting with people based on those primitive instincts.

Positive Energy Shifts

Whether you feel repressed, displaced, or sublimated, those character forces can be compared with physical energy, which we are all accustomed to in our everyday lives. We know for a fact that energy must find some type of outlet for its discharge. The same is true for humans. There are not several kinds of energy but merely several manifestations of energy that change from one form to another. Still, the sum total of the original energy remains without additional loss.

Take, for example, a situation where you received some unhappy news. Maybe you lost an account at work. Then, several hours later, you’re having dinner with friends. A couple at the table is joyful and bubbling over with happiness. They feel good. They are happy. Now you have a choice. You can sit there and be unhappy or you can be influenced by the energy around you. If you choose to let go of sad and depressed feelings, then your character may have an opportunity to kick in. Allowing yourself happiness, you could be laughing along with the rest of the group in a matter of moments.

Much more can be said about the forces of what creates and defines a character. Certainly life circumstances can change someone’s outlook, but if you’re having doubts about why you’re doing something in your life and you’re wondering if you need a character evaluation, reach out to connect today.

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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