In a world where the internet and influencers are often referenced as respected resources, it may be time to remind ourselves that character is who we are when no one is looking. Character is not who we are when someone is taking a photo or selfie, or who we are when we plan to post our actions or even who we are when we want what we are doing to ‘go viral’. Our character is exhibited and solidified by the things we do when no one is around.
Like Helen Keller points out in these wise words, it is through trial and suffering that we learn who we are, what we can endure, and how well equipped we are to handle what life throws our way. We earn our emotional stripes when things go badly. We earn professional and service ‘creds’ when we overcome and solve complex problems. It is what we learn along the way the builds up our experiences and provides a foundation for further opportunity to be the person we have always wanted to become.
No one becomes who they are by having everything go right. A world without conflict, failure, disappointment or suffering is a world without the opportunity to learn and grow. My best life lessons have been some of my greatest failures. Failing is not the problem, staying on the ground with your face buried in the dirt because you don’t want to try anymore, THAT is failure.
I was reminded of what really builds character as I read the words of a woman who was blind, deaf and unable to speak encouraging me to endure and grow. Helen Keller had a list of reasons to just give up, instead she mobilized her life around what she was able do, what she could learn and how willing she was to work and prevail beyond her circumstances. On the days when I just want to keep my face down in the dirt and give up, I remember that I can talk, and hear and speak so I have no excuses for giving up. These are the moments that are building my character to pave the way for a brighter future.