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Personality VS Character – Which Is More Important?

Personality VS character - which is more important?
Personality VS character – which is more important?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss personality VS character – which is more important in every relationship?

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Now, let’s talk about personality VS character – which is more important in every relationship?

The word personality comes from the Latin word persona, which literally means ‘mask, character played by an actor.’ Thus, persona referred to the exterior, to the mask.

The dictionary defines personality as “the visible aspect of one’s character as it impresses others: He has a pleasing personality.”

“Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.” – (Feist and Feist, 2009)

Accordingly, personality also relates to temperament – is he/she introverted or extroverted, bold or shy, a leader or a thinker, serious or animated?

And which of those really matter in relationships – be they social, romantic or business relationships?

Naturally we are drawn to people who complement our own personality, share similar interests and hobbies, and whom, one way or another, via their pleasing personality, make us feel good.

And yet, this is one of the biggest and easiest mistakes to make in any and every relationship – to form a friendship, bond, contract, commitment, marriage or relationship based purely on the extremely attractive personality that someone offers or presents to us.

The converse can also apply – we can be repelled quite easily by a displeasing personality – a gruff, angry, miserable or constantly negative person.

However, what truly matters and is critical to the success, longevity and satisfaction in any relationship is determined more by character than personality.

Character, is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Thus, the term “Character assassination” refers to “the malicious and unjustified harming of a person’s good reputation.”

While personality is perceived as permanent, character is something that is developed.

Most of us generally are attracted to and even fall in love with one’s personality – i.e. we are drawn to their social façade, the mask they wear or the image they present or exude.

Not often enough are we drawn to one’s character.

Our visual sense also leads us astray. Most of us are pulled in by physical beauty – by the exterior – and rarely by the beauty of character – the internal which has greater impact, meaning and significance in a relationship.

“Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude, and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.” –  Jacqueline Bisset

Most relationships begin on the attraction of personality and physical beauty, and are later torn down by the lack of character.

It’s the trap that captures both sexes – the extraordinary magnetic pull of beauty and pleasing personality. Can you distinguish between charm, charisma and substance and character in a person?

So how do we determine whether or not a person has good character?

A person of character is:
A good person, someone to look up to and admire
Knows the difference between right and wrong and always tries to do what is right
Sets a good example for everyone
Makes the world a better place
Lives according to the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship  – 
Source: @Charactercounts

I elaborate about character and the six pillars of character in the article “Beware of women who lack character” Again, note that character is not something with which we are born; it is instilled, developed and cultivated.

Another way to determine one’s character is by first determining your own values, morals and expectations. What is important to you? What can you accept and not accept in a person’s behavior? What are your thoughts, opinions and expectations as they pertain to moral conduct, self-mastery, will-power, and integrity?

 “It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character.” – Dale Turner

One of my core teachings is that there are 12 words that must be freely used in a relationship:

  • I am sorry
  • I was wrong
  • Please forgive me
  • I love you

I have found in relationships and human behavior that there is also a strong link between maturity and the above 12 words – it takes a mature person (someone who is responsible, accountable and considerate) to be willing and able to:

  • Admit that he/she was wrong
  • Express regret for the action
  • Demonstrate that he/she prizes the relationship
  • Be willing to make amends based on the needs of the person who he/she wronged

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

Another way to measure character is to consider virtues (moral excellence of a person) such as empathy, courage, discipline, fortitude, honesty, loyalty, trust, kindness, gratitude, service and other good behaviors and habits. Again, this pertains to your own list of what is important to you – your definition of moral conduct and integrity.

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” – C.S. Lewis

The painful way of determining and identifying our virtues, or at least the most important virtue for each of us, is to blindly enter into a relationship and then when we feel someone has wronged us, we suddenly become clear about our most important virtue or expectation of character. Source: @Virtuesforlife

For example, once someone has lied, cheated or betrayed us, we then realize how significant and critical honesty and loyalty are.

In summary, the key point here is to beware of the difference between being attracted to the external (personality) and being attracted to the internal (character.) A relationship cannot be founded on personality alone; it is character that builds the relationship and leads to satisfaction and symbiosis.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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