Character Development

I’ve definitely held back on this post for sometime, because I feel it is a bit of a downer, Maybe not a downer, but it is one of those truths that people don’t often like, and I kind of hesitate to write about it. However, it is now past the pushing point of going from ranting or venting to something I have mulled over since the end of December. It’s on a topic we often focus on of fictional characters, be they from movies, TV series and books. We also focus on these when watching the life and story of some of our favourite celebrities, and those we admire and raise on a pedestal.

Character development.

It’s something I see many people pay close attention to in fantasy and fiction. It’s something I see many people try to work on in themselves, but in the wrong way. That is to say, what I perceive wrong – I, myself, could be wrong.

But anyways, my real point is character development. It’s so important, that in movies and TV shows if a character does not change or grow as a person from start to finish for movies, and season to season for TV shows, they’re generally a flat character. It’s kind of the same thing in real life. You have to develop. You have to grow up. That doesn’t mean you go out and get yourself really educated – though it is helpful. Sometimes, I see really smart and rousing debates occur on Facebook, where two people fling facts and sources at one another. All it really does is prove they are educated. In this specific scenario character development would be to allow your opposition to educate you. After all, the best essays are the ones that can argue against themselves as well and see the other point. Or, for some the best thing to do which shows good character is to simply accept, you’re probably not going to change your opponent’s mind and to stop. Or you see your opponent is not looking to educate you, but change you and you’re not willing to change either, so again, you stop. At least, that is what I think the wisest options are. I acknowledge, I could be wrong. This is a pretty bold statement coming from someone who rarely engages in online discourse.

This is a really specific answer, only because I see a lot of arguments occur on twitter and Facebook. I think this a really specific example. Too specific. When I say character development, i mean growth, maturing, wisdom – not knowledge. I’m going into full rant mode here, so apologies if this is no longer eloquent and intellectual sounding.

You cannot say, “I have a bad temper” and “I’m really sensitive” as a cover for these flaws and choose not to work on it. You can’t. It’s almost the same as playing the victim card. Using your trauma as a way to make people sympathy you and never put pressure on you to grow is not okay. Similarly, you can’t use “I’m just like that” as a reason. It’s like saying, “Sorry if I sound ignorant” and then proceeding to say a totally opinionated blast on someone, without opening the floor for dialogue and inviting this person to help you grow. It’s like saying, “No offences, but…” then going on to say something offensive.

Acknowledging your flaws, is only step one.

A bold opinion from someone who does not engage in a lot of discourse.

And it is true. First of all this is an opinion, and more of a self-reflection than it is a critique on others. Who am I to criticize when I have a plank in my own eyes, after all (Matt. 7:5). As I said this is a rant, I see a lot of people excuse their personality flaws as traits and then walk away with no intention to change. I wonder, don’t you want to become the hero that God has designed you to be? Don’t you want to be a better person? And not the better person like “a nicer person” the “socially conscientious” person. I mean a better person for yourself. So you can be happier. So you can radiate joy, and other can feel and absorb that from you, without taking it from you. You’re mature for being able to see and acknowledge where you fall short, I admit. However, it is not enough. When a child pulls another kid’s hair or hits them with a toy, we often make them say sorry, and they do, but they proceed to hit or pull again. It shows they have not grown, they have not changed. We realize when kids are maturing when they seek to change their behaviours and become a better person. They make a good decision to grow up, and get over this flaw. They don’t always have fun doing it. I see it my kids ministry classes all the time. I see a little boy in the three year old class, throw a toy at another child in his anger. I ask him to say sorry, and he does but he repeats the behaviour. Whereas the kids in the four year old class now know to exert their displeasure in other methods rather than tossing a toy across the room. They might pout, but hey thats step from throwing. These are the kids we call “big boys/big girls” and the ones who still throw we often ask them to follow the example of the big kids.

All that to say, if kids can change adults can and should too. I think the wisest thing I heard, was once on the radio the radio jockey was talking about their passing grandparent who said, “I want to keep growing, to keep changing until i breath my last breath.”

The world keeps turning, time goes on and we all have to keep maturing.

You might say “heavy words for someone who is also flawed”. And I agree with you, wholeheartedly. I excused my flaws, my temper, my anger and my hatred as just being a part of my personality. I did not acknowledge that I had to change and grow up. Now, I’m not any more perfect that another person, I have my flaws. However, I did and am working on my temper. I am working on my hatred. I’m letting god of my bad self-imaging and redirecting my eyes from the mirror to the Altar and looking to see what God says about me, not what I say and not what others say. What does God want me to change? Even in my faith, I am not perfect. I get highs and lows, too. It’s part of the battle. I’m doing better than where I was last year, in that I genuinely look forward to church and ministry again. I push my husband and I to pray together and individually every night, we do a devotional once a week and I do my best to do a short devotional nightly, with the goal that it become meditation, devotional and contemplation.

In terms of my personality, I think I am far more joyful than I used to be. I am checking my temper and my words, praying before I yell. If my temper gets ahead of me, I seek out to amend it and apologize. I have told my husband if I lose my temper on him, he has every right to correct me, lovingly. I’m also a very lazy person, so I am pushing myself to prepare for the day. I fail a lot, and I get disappointed. Still ” for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity (proverbs 24:16 ESV)”. My husband and I have a meal subscription and I used to cook one out of the three meals, wasting the other two. So far, I have been able to finish all three these past few weeks. This blog also pushes me to update on at least a biweekly basis. In terms of friendships, I am striving to put less pressure on people to like me and fulfil me and get my satisfaction from the Lord. I seek out others to enjoy them and their company, not for my own gain but to celebrate and uplift them. I want to develop community. I want to get to know the friends I already have and be someone who is there to support and celebrate them, to love on them and pour energy and effort into them, rather than absorb all theirs. (This is a checkpoint for me, hopefully I read this again sometime later this and next year and see if I have made progress. I apologize if it sounds like one big huge brag). Again, I am not perfect. I get insecure in my place with people, I overthink actions and still have a fear of missing out. I still take things personally that should not be taken personally, but I am trying. I invite any and everyone reading this to follow me, after all I named this blog GrowingUpwithAhri.

I acknowledged my flaws, I figured out what I need to change, I made a plan (with God) for how to change them and I am putting that plan into action – seeking the grace and humility I need to keep changing.

I hope you do too.

God Bless
w/ love