Is There a Difference Between Character and Personality Traits?
The following is a short essay written by a woman knowledgeable on the subject of personal development. Personal Development is the modern term used by Therapists and others for Tikunim – Corrections.
Written by Judy W Bell on March 26, 2010. Posted in Personal Development
Many times the words character and personality are used interchangeably. While related, there are distinct differences between the two words and their meanings.
chanoch adds: The bold and emphasis is added by me. This is because it is important to realize that our modern English is not teaching the things that Kabbalah teaches.
Personality in Hebrew is Ishiot - אישיות which implies that the personality is builit into the essence of a man and and his DNA. One of the words for man is Ish – the first 3 letters of the word Ishiot.
Character traits are Midot - מידות in Hebrew. Midot has the shoresh that relates to size or measure.
As will be seen below Character traits can be changed although with difficulty. This is because they are learned by one's culture and other aspects of the environment. Personality traits while similar are more difficult to change since they are more deeply ingrained within a man. This is what Kabbalah teaches.
The essay continues.
Character is often used to define a person’s integrity, such as he has “upstanding character” or “his character is lacking.” Character is actually a set of behavior traits that define what type of person you are. Do you follow the rules of your “group?” Many times people who do not follow the rules of the group, whether it is a family group, work group, or religious group, are not accepted by the group. This tenant and tendency has been in place since the beginning of time.
Are you upfront and honest when dealing with others? People who have a positive social character are often found to be more easily trusted by others. Again, this follows the same age-old truism mentioned above.
Personality, on the other hand, is defined as the traits with which you were born. People tend to be either analytical in nature or socially outgoing. Most people fall into the realm of being either extroverted or introverted. Other common distinctions are dominant, influencing, steady, or compliant personalities.
Personality is inborn. Character, however, comes from learned behavior inside your early relationships. This learning comes from both observation and interaction with your parents, teachers, and other social networks. While character does have an “inborn” link due to its finite relationship to personality, character is actually designed and developed from and during our early relationships until they become ingrained. Character as well as belief and value systems are inherently linked.Does this mean that character is not changeable? No, character can be changed purposely in order to better get along in groups or it can vary situationally. An example of situational character is the person who never misses a church service but does have absences at work. Or vice versa. Character traits are the attitudes and beliefs that you have toward your life, work, family, and community. Character traits may be positive, negative, or somewhere in between. There is a direct link between positive character traits and a happy and successful life. Negative character traits that have been “strongly and long” ingrained usually do cause strife at some point. But a focus on positive change can and does work. Look to Executive Coaching or personal development classes such as “The Phoenix Psychology of Achievement” by Brian Tracy to help make the necessary changes. The desire to change can and does bring great results!
Below are two sets of words – one describing and working with character traits. The other personality traits. I have brought both sets of words in order for someone to see similarities and also differences. I recommend one reads through both sets of words. Then as a second step pick 3 of the character traits that they think apply to them. The 3 step is to ask if these words are the way our friends and family would describe us. It is also beneficial to ask our friends and family without showing the list how would they describe the worst 3 character traits we possess.Many people will also ask for 3 positive traits. Remember we did not come into this world to be praised but to perform our tikunim which begins with changing ourselves. It is also important to realize that character traits can sometimes be both positive and negative.
Once you have identified your 3 worst traits you have a free choice decision – choose to change these traits by concentrating on changing them in all of your actions or not. The choice is yours.
i would ask you to remember the various prophecies that promise a difficult life filled with chaotic events until one chooses to follow a righteous path which implies fixing your negative character traits.
Here is a list of mostly challenging character trait words in alphabetical order.
If I believe the word might be misunderstood I will give a dictionary definition. Eventually I would like to add the Hebrew word that these words translate to yet at this time – time prohibits.
punctilious – strict or exact in the observance of details.
accepts what’s given ignores, rejects what’s given
affectionate distant, cold, aloof
Ambitious, motivated self-satisfied, unmotivated
candid closed, guarded, secretive
caring uncaring, unfeeling, callous
change; accepts, embraces it rejects change
cheerful cheerless, gloomy, sour, grumpy
considerate, thoughtful inconsiderate, thoughtless
cooperative uncooperative, unhelpful, combative
courageous cowering, fearful
courteous rude, impolite
devoted uncommitted, uncaring, hostile
determined indecisive, unsure
does what is necessary, right does what is convenient
perseveres, endures relents, gives up
enthusiastic unenthusiastic, apathetic, indifferent
expansive kept back, tight, constricting
faith in life life can’t be trusted
faith in oneself lack of faith in self
faith in others others can’t be relied on
flexible inflexible, rigid, unbending, stubborn
forgiving unforgiving, resentful, spiteful
focused unfocused, scattered
freedom given to others authoritarian, controlling
friendly unfriendly, distant, aloof, hostile
frugal, thrifty Wasteful, spendthrift
generous stingy, miserly, selfish
goodwill ill-will, malice, hatred
grateful ungrateful, unappreciative
honest dishonest, deceiving, lying
humble arrogant, conceited, ego-centric
interested indifferent, uncaring
involved complacent, indifferent
jealous, not jealous, envious, covetous
kind unkind, uncaring, cruel, mean
open-minded, tolerant narrow, close, small-minded, intolerant
perfects allows imperfection
persistent, sustaining flagging, fleeting, unsustaining
practical impractical, not viable
punctual late, not on time
realistic naïve, impractical
reliable unreliable, undependable
respectful disrespectful, rude, impolite
responsibility, takes blames others
responsible unreliable, undependable
responsive unresponsive, unreceptive
self-confident lack of self confidence, insecure
self-directed directed by externals
self-disciplined undisciplined, unrestrained, indulgent
self-esteem, high self-esteem, confidence – low
sensitive Insensitive, indifferent
serious silly, trivial, petty
sincere insincere, dishonest
social independence social approval required
sympathetic unsympathetic, unfeeling
systematic unsystematic, disorganized, disorderly, random
open minded, willing to consider other opinions closed minded, insists on own view
thoughtful towards others thoughtless, inconsiderate, callous
trusting suspicious, mistrusting
unpretentious pretentious, affected, ostentatious
willing does, willingness stubborn, unwilling, reluctant
work comes first convenience first
Hopefully, you understand the difference between character and personality traits more clearly after reading the two different lists.
Here is a short essay regarding what the Gemarah says about Midot - Character Traits. It is written by a blog called "Ahavat Chesed" - Love of Good Deeds.
The faint of heart.
There is a Gemmarah that explains how middos work. Let's take the middah of anger for instance. Of course, anger is a terrible thing, but the Gemmara tells us that anger for the sake of the Creator's Honor is a good thing. Therefore the Gemmara explains that with each middah a person should strive to be in the middle. This means that a person cannot not get too angry, but he must also know that sometimes he must be angry for the sake of Hashem. With tzeddakah and chessed the same rules apply. The middah of chessed needs to be close to the middle ground. If you are always doing chessed, and never with your family, that's not middle ground. If you stop davening in talis and teffilin to talk to someone collecting, that is probably an issue. A lot of times many of us think we're doing the right thing, because a chessed opportunity is in front of us. We don't have to grab every "opportunity" that comes our way. Yes, it's great to do chessed, yes, it's a mitzvah. But it is not always the right thing to do. Chessed and middos in general, are not for the faint of heart. One needs to realize that a middah needs to be controlled. Anger is a bad thing, but a person cannot be docile every second of his life either. There is a time for anger and a time for calm. Try and figure out how to be both.
The message of this short essay is to remain balanced all the time. Do "Good Deeds" in an appropriate way. A balanced way. A central column manner.
Here is another story from a Sefardic Source about doing a Chesed that takes one out of his way.
Rabbi Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, told the following story. Our Rabbis of blessed memory tell us that when someone who comes regularly to Synagogue doesn't come one day, G-d asks about him. He does this by causing others to ask why he didn't come, perhaps he is ill and needs help.
Rabbi Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, had a rich neighbor, who had sons who were Rabbanim and judges. Every morning he would see him when he went to or returned from Synagogue. On one occasion he did not see him, so he went and knocked on his door. There was no answer, but they never went away without wishing him first, so he went and knocked again. This time he heard a very weak response. He called a neighbor who brought someone to force open the door.
They found the man and wife ill in bed, in their hands was a prescription for medication, but there was no one to take care of them, feed them or bring them their medication. From this, he adds, that we see that whenever someone does not see a neighbor that he would ordinarily see daily, for a day or two, he should inquire about his welfare to ensure that he is not in need of assistance.
The moral lesson is clear from the story. The question is how do i know what is a balanced action? Ask your intuition.
© 2021 www.yeshshem.com All rights reserved. Site development by Eltitude