Character vs. Will

As I struggled with the state of my progress towards purpose, I read about the ‘Big Five’ personality traits in one of my grad classes. It introduced me to a side of myself that I was aware of but that I hadn’t given much thought to. That is, my extreme introversion.

I decided it might help to understand myself. Maybe, just maybe, this aspect of me was the missing piece to why I’m not where I know I should be.

New Questions

It was then that I was presented with new philosophical questions. How do we overcome ourselves to become our whole selves? For example, how do I do the very thing that my genetic makeup prevents me from doing? In other words, being created an introvert, how do I accomplish goals especially suited for extroversion and vice versa. That is, how do I achieve Yahuwah’s purpose for my life?

When traits such as introversion are so deeply rooted, how do we overcome the way we were made to become the way we were made to be?

Can we be something other than ourselves?

In terms of extroversion, is it possible for an extrovert to sustain a lifestyle that goes against the grain and that is often lonely… A lifestyle of seeking, learning, and growing from within? Can an introvert sustain a lifestyle in the spotlight publically sharing knowledge he or she honed in their own quiet time? Or is the point that each person has a purpose tied to who they were from conception and will always be? Is it simply that people like me want to succumb to the norms of those in this world that makes themselves seen and heard, particularly above those who don’t? And if this is the case, are we doomed to live in a world lead by charisma, rather than other more effective qualities?

An Epiphany: Do It Right!

At first, the more I thought about it, the more confused I became but eventually, I realized that being something we’re not is exhausting and unsustainable! We must exercise our own strengths to shift the environments we are a part of. We insert ourselves in organizations, institutions, and communities who want to hear us and in areas where our strengths are necessities. We become leaders who hear the unheard and pay equal attention to the unseen. We seek out the humble and nurture the gifts and talents of the reserved and the modest that one day our strengths speak for us – loud enough for all to hear. In this, we affect change, awaken consciousness and make thinking deeply about who we are, what we’re doing and where we are going the norm!

Another Epiphany: Psychology & Spirituality

Another realization I came to was that introversion and extroversion is another human trait that parallels the feminine and masculine image of God. In this case, introversion shares the qualities of the feminine and extroversion demonstrates masculine qualities. The only thing we can do is be functional in our God given roles rather it be introversion or extroversion.

Strategically Me!

As a person with a feminine personality (introvert) , I can thrive in counseling, education, and guidance – roles such as teaching, cognitive therapy, management, or counseling. Someone with a masculine personality thrives best in social roles such as public service, public speaking, spokesperson, public relations, management and roles in sales, production and other competitive environments. The masculine is better at charismatic and social roles that deal with the tangibles such as people, places, and things. Contrarily, feminines are usually better behind the scenes in roles that require deep thinking, problem-solving and innovation – things that deal with the intangible human characteristics such as the emotions, logic, mind, and spirit.

Does This New-found Philosophy Hold Up To Hebrew Culture and Scripture?

In Hebrew, these are represented by the letters ו/wow meaning secured, in the sense of tangibility and ה/hey meaning manifest in the sense of being, rather physically evident or not – the intangible.

ו/wow is the masculine suffix added to Hebrew words to say he or his and ה /hey is added to say she or hers. It can also be seen the letters י/yod and ת/taw meaning do and sign respectively. The yod is evidenced by action but the taw is symbolic of something that is done or that exists.

We also see examples of these roles throughout the Bible, but the one that stands out the most is Moses and Aaron’s. Moses isn’t confident in his speaking abilities so he refuses Yahuah’s command to speak to the Pharoah. Yah elects Aaron to speak on Moses’ behalf. These roles are designated god (Moses) and prophet (Aaron), more clearly Moses posessed the powers(god) behind Aaron’s words and Yahuah was the powers(God) that Moses posessed.

Moses was the feminine, introvert, power to Aaron’s masculine, extrovert, professing. Although we all, like Moses, have the authority to act extroversively, some of us are prone to introversive behaviors and vise versa. So who we are in this respect isn’t necessarily dependent upon our actions but our comfort level when perpetuating those actions. Many people overcome themselves to accomplish those things that aren’t necessarily in line with their natural tendencies and comforts. This can be good or bad.

Misalignment With One’s Self

An entertainer may feel extremely uneasy before every performance or a people person may not speak much at all at certain types of events where they don’t know much about the interests or topics prevalent at those events. Feelings of anxiety and discomfort can sometimes be overwhelming in these situations.

We mistakenly assume that what people do make them one thing or another. In reality it’s not only what we do but what we are comfortable and uncomfortable doing.

Good vs Bad

In terms of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ people, is a good person one who donates millions solely for tax benefits or one who wants to donate to help others but have no money to donate? Yeshua addressed this question in the story about the poor widow who gave her last, which wasn’t much, versus those that had given plenty because they had plenty. It’s not what we do but the reasoning, intent, and comfort level with which we do things that truly defines us.

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living

Mark 12:41-44

Questions Answered

So in this battle between character and will I deduce this…

  1. One’s character is unchanging despite willing oneself to act against that character in a given situation.
  2. We can overcome ourselves, i.e. our characters, to accomplish specific tasks but it will not change who we are at our core.
  3. Rather than wasting energy trying to change our character to keep pace with what’s popular, good, or likable, we must learn to be our own functional selves. That is, we must act functionally according to our masculine/extrovert or feminine/introvert capacity and all other innate qualities of our personality and spirituality.
  4. If someone is truly bad they’ll never become good, but just because someone acts badly doesn’t mean they are bad. Likewise, someone who ‘acts’ good isn’t necessarily good and a truly good person cannot become bad.
  5. Our characters are defined by the conditions of our hearts and minds as we act, not the act itself.
  6. Actions against our true nature only serve to validate that nature. In other words, the discomfort of acting against our true nature makes us less likely to repeat that action. Likewise, comfort or pleasure with actions that align with our true nature makes us more likely to repeat those actions.
  7. We are all better at some things than at other things. It’s up to us to learn ourselves and do what we are best at doing to the best of our ability.
  8. Trying to master the strengths of others that are not aligned with our character leads to disappointment.

Does this mean we should be stagnant or not strive to achieve greatness? Of course not! It means that we must change our behaviors to align with our true nature and work at being better at who we truly are.

For example, if I’m uncomfortable selling I’m probably not suited to sell so I need to change what I do to align with who I am. And learning who I am and changing what I Do is part of working to achieve greatness.

Summary

See, it’s not that we shouldn’t strive, achieve, and overcome but that we should do it more strategically – according to who we are not who others say or think we should be. For some, the opinions and judgments of others are the only things that make them keep up the appearance of decency. Yet, I believe that most people just want to be their best selves. Unfortunately, many of us haven’t discovered who or what that is yet.

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