I just listened to a postcast of sermon that my dear friend April sent to me. The man spoke of the difference between character and personality. He mentioned that the word character is derived from a french word meaning “an imprint on the soul.” Personality, on the other hand, is Latin for “a mask worn by actors.”
He could have ended his sermon right there.
How poignant is that simple truth? We are so infused with trappings that will express (literally “to push out”) our personalities. We are desperate for recognition of our unique personalities. We hide behind the multifacets of these colorful personalities. What we are refusing to let shine is our character. Our true selves. The thing behind the stuff.
Every day, people see us the way they want to see us… and often if that perception happens to be negative we will jump through hoops to make ourselves more presentable, more likable. I spent an awfully long time being whomever you wanted me to be. I had such fragmented character hidden behind any number of masks that I’d forgotten who I was. I became a master at fitting the mold of whatever situation I happened to be in, while inside I was pouting because no one truly noticed the real me. How could they? I was so well hidden even I couldn’t find me anymore.
I was talking to someone the other day who confessed to me that he didn’t know himself very well. At the time we happened to be discussing the layers of disfunction we all do our best to shed in order to become whole. I, having been through years of therapy and treatments ad naseum, was supposedly the enlightened one in this conversation. But was I? All I’d been doing during my self-discovery missions is shedding the personality masks that I’ve created over the years, while he was standing there in front of me with nothing but character.
Character, like the asparagus in my Thanksgiving post, is raw, naked, delicious. It is personality that drowns the goods, just like the cream soup in the casserole drowns the tasty veggie.
Are you living in character? Are you hiding something fantastic out of fear that people will not like you? Are you using the mask of personality to fit in while the real, vibrant, fabulous you grows cobwebs?
Be authentic today. Because whenever we allow our character to shine, we unconsciously give others permission to let theirs shine too. Be the catalyst that enlightens your household, empowers your children, and strengthen your relationships. Who wants to see your personality… when we can experience your character.