How Do People Recognize You?

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Have you ever wondered what makes you or other people resort to name-calling? Umm… you must be thinking if you are dubbing someone with a name it is because the other person complements the name and if it is the other person calling you a nasty name you think he/she is mean.

Generally when referring to someone we do highlight their trait or at least we make a mental note and this is how we want to remember them. You call your best friend sweet because she cooperates with you and you are even willing to go an extra mile for her. Don’t you? Whereas if it is a person you do not get along well with because she is a snob you will not do anything for her and will call her a snob.

It is the same with all people. It is our character traits that make us acceptable or liked by others. When we talk about character, there could be a dozen different shades. It is usually based on the opinion one forms after meeting them. They might be impressed, awed, disgusted, frightened, amused, bemused or a combination of these reactions.

Now you must be thinking that we are the way we have been brought up. But No! That’s not the case. Our thoughts, beliefs and practices make us what we are and they can be changed at any point in time.

What exactly is character? The dictionary describes it as an attribute or a quality that defines a person. This means that you are defined by a certain set of habits, qualities or attitudes and these form the basis upon which your character is judged. Aristotle describes character as: “Something which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.”

Every characteristic you have combines to categories your character; if someone is to describe YOU as a character person, they would take into consideration all aspects of your personality, including your physical appearance, your social habits, your psychological reactions and other people’s perception of your strengths and weakness. Actually other people’s perception of your character is what goes into giving you a reputation, whether positive or negative.

However, the character is known by its attributes... it encompasses all aspects of our lives. And yet, it is almost impossible to find even one person who is flawless in some way. In reality we all have flawed characters. Perhaps, it is not realistic to expect flawless characters.

Nowadays, daily we read/hear news about the increasing incidents of crime and violence around us. Have you ever bothered to think why all this is happening? This is not something which only elders should ponder about; you should also seek the answer.

Remember you are next in line to the throne. I will give you a clue: have you or any of your friends ever broken the queue, tried to get first in the van, bumping into others just to get the window seat? I am sure you must have done so at least once. Still cannot figure out what link it has with the current violence or crime in society? Fine, I will make things easy for you.

When we forget the basic difference between right and wrong just to get what we want we start developing the habit of insensitivity and if the habit is not corrected in due time it becomes you character. You become insensitive to others’ needs and feelings; this is what leads to all the trouble in the society.

Character can have positive or negative associations; it is almost impossible to find even one person who is flawless in some way. In reality we all have flawed characters. I agree that it is not realistic to expect flawless characters but all that matters is the kind of flaw that is detrimental to others.

For instance, I may be in the habit of drinking a lot of tea, but no one would really describe it as a character flaw because excessive tea consumption is not likely to hurt others around me. Whereas if I am abusive or stern it would be a flaw in my character making me looked down upon. That is because my trait would affect other people — their livelihoods, their health, their safety or even their moods.

Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift but good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece — by thought, choice, courage and determination.

There are few habits that need to be developed to acquire a positive character and can be developed with time if we follow the five A's that is Acceptance, Affection, Appreciation, Approval and Attention.

As humans we need to cultivate the following traits to be assets of society or if we want people to like us:

Respect
• Showing high regard for self, others, authority, property and country.
• Showing appreciation for cultural diversity by valuing all people as human beings.

Responsibility
• Being accountable for one's actions.
• Being dependable in carrying out obligations and duties.
• Being reliable and consistent in word and action.
• Being committed to your community.

Integrity
Showing the inner strength and courage to be truthful, trustworthy, fair and honest in all things; acting justly and honorably.
• Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do
• Have the courage to do the right thing
• Build a good reputation
• Be loyal — stand by your family, friends and country

Self-discipline
• Being in proper control of one's words, actions, impulses, emotions and desires.
• Demonstrating hard work, perseverance and commitment to achieving goals.

Caring
• Being kind, considerate, courteous, helpful, friendly and generous to others.
• Being compassionate by treating others as you would like to be treated.

Fairness
• Play by the rules
• Take turns and share
• Be open-minded; listen to others
• Don’t take advantage of others
• Don’t blame others carelessly

Citizenship
• Do your share to make your school and community better
• Cooperate
• Get involved in community affairs
• Stay informed
• Be a good neighbour
• Obey laws and rules
• Respect authority
• Protect the environment

All we need to understand is that character is the foundation stone upon which one wins respect.

Just as no worthy building can be built on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character. We must always remember that character isn't something you are born with and can't change. It's something you are not born with and must take responsibility for forming.

So think about it and try that next time people respect you for who you are and not for what you are.

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