How to Develop a Strong Character: Building Resilience

Having a strong character is essential to enduring life’s challenges and cultivating resilience. This blog post will explore the relationship between character and resilience, explain why it’s so important to have a strong character and provide actionable advice on how you can build up your own resilience by developing a stronger sense of self in today’s ever-changing world.

We will also discuss some common characteristics that are often shared among those who embody successful inner strength such as confidence, loyalty, courage, integrity, focus, and hard work. Read on for ways to understand your personal identity and become more resilient in the face of adversity!

What are character and resilience?

Character and resilience are two key traits that define a strong and adaptable individual. Character refers to the ethical values that guide one’s actions, while resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges and hardships. The two traits work in tandem, with character providing the foundation for resilience. In times of stress, having a strong character allows individuals to persevere and overcome obstacles.

“Resilience is the ability to adapt to difficult situations. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning — both physically and psychologically. However, resilience isn’t about putting up with something difficult, being stoic or figuring it out on your own. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key part of being resilient.” –The Mayo Clinic

A strong support system can help build resilience by providing encouragement and guidance. Resilience doesn’t mean going it alone in isolation. Rather, resilience gives you the ability to recognize when you need help and the strength to ask for it.

Developing both character and resilience takes time and effort, but the rewards are immeasurable. These traits not only benefit individuals in their personal lives but also in their professional and academic pursuits. By cultivating these qualities, individuals can become better equipped to handle the ups and downs of life and emerge stronger than ever.

Character versus Personality

When it comes to understanding people, the terms “character” and “personality” are often used interchangeably. However, these two concepts are distinct from each other. Character refers to a person’s moral and ethical qualities, such as honesty, integrity, and loyalty. These are the core things that give one a strong character.

Characters like Superman and Captain America embody this trait. Their values anchor them and give them the strength to continue in hard times. This is true for every one of us. Our values are our grounding in the world. Our character is built out of those values when we take those values and put them into action in the world.

On the other hand, personality refers to the individual traits, preferences, and favorites that make up a person’s unique psychological makeup. There’s nothing morally correct about your favorite color being green. You’re not a bad person for liking chocolate cake. You’re not morally superior because your favorite movie is about saving the world. These are just the quirks of our personalities.

While character and personality are closely related, it’s worth noting that we can have a strong moral character without having a particularly charismatic or outgoing personality, and vice versa. “Strong” can imply being overbearing, loud, or aggressive. This isn’t what we mean here when we say strong character.

Strong character is firmly rooted in your core values and is practiced out in the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean loud, but it does mean stable. It means that you stick to what you believe. Your personality helps cement this foundation, but two people can live out the same values differently.

Your values and your actions determine your character and your personality shapes how you’ll live in the world. In essence, character and personality are two sides of the same coin, and understanding them both is key to understanding ourselves and the people around us.

What emotional resilience is and isn’t

Emotional resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations, without breaking down or falling apart. It’s the ability to navigate challenging circumstances with strength, determination, and grace. However, emotional resilience is not the suppression of emotions or the inability to feel pain. It is not an immunity to stress, but rather the proactive management of stress.

Some people think that a strong character means always being happy. You might think that morally good people are upbeat and give energy to the people around them. Certainly, some do. But there are different types of good people with all sorts of personalities. The media give us the message that we ought to be happy all the time, but this isn’t emotional resilience.

“The prevailing message that most people hear in the media is that you have to be happy and optimistic. It seems like that is the only way to be. Most people have become intolerant to loss, mistakes, or sadness. People with a strong character, however, see things exactly as they are. That goes hand-in-hand with resilience and invites you to see, accept, and face the obstacles in your way.” –Valeria Sabater

We don’t want to deaden our emotions, but we also don’t want them running wild over us and stopping us from living our lives. With emotional resilience, we can weather the storm of tough circumstances. It’s not blind optimism, nor is it grim resignation, but it is a level-headed assessment that resilient people make that reality is what it is, and we need to keep going.

Emotional resilience is not a trait that some people are born with while others are not. Rather, it is a skill that can be developed over time through intentional practice and self-reflection. Ultimately, emotional resilience allows us to maintain our sense of well-being, even during trying times. We all have to ride the waves of emotion, but we can learn to surf.

Moral character and intellectual character

The development of moral character and intellectual character is a serious undertaking that requires perseverance, hard work, honesty, and fairness. Aristotle thought that we had both moral and intellectual virtues and that we achieve These traits are essential for building strong relationships, making sound decisions, and achieving success in life. Moral character refers to the qualities that define our moral values and principles. It is about doing what is right, even when it is difficult, and standing up for what we believe in.

Intellectual character, on the other hand, is about developing our capacity for learning, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. It is about cultivating our curiosity, passion for knowledge, and willingness to take risks. Intellectual virtues aren’t moral in and of themselves, but they help us live more complete lives. Being open-minded, curious, and charitable helps us cultivate moral character as well as intellectual character.

This isn’t about your abilities. This is about practicing good habits. All of our characters are built up through practice. We aren’t born with these abilities. We create our character through the habits we build. Wherever you are, it’s important to be thoughtful and charitable when reading. Expanding your mind to new ideas without necessarily being captured by them is a sign of good intellectual character.

By developing these two dimensions of character, we become better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and make a positive contribution to the world.

Resilience in everyday life

Resilience is a critical character trait that helps us overcome challenges and setbacks in our daily lives. While some might believe that resilience is an inherent quality that individuals are either born with or without, this is not necessarily true. Resilience is a practical skill that can be cultivated and improved with intentional effort and practice.

Here are a few tips for building resilience in your everyday life: first, practice self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in physical exercise. It’s very easy to get thrown off of your self-care routine when life is tumultuous. Making sure that these habits are still present in your life is key to not going off the rails when times get tough. Equipping ourselves with these tools strengthens our resilience.

Second, build strong relationships with friends and family, since social support is vital for resilience.

“It’s important to have people you can confide in. Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one won’t make your troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, get support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.” –Kendra Cherry

Community support is vital to maintaining resilience. Again, emotional resilience is not simply hardening yourself to the world. Having appropriate routes to express emotion and seek advice lets us keep going when times are tough. Emotions are tough, but they’re manageable. They shouldn’t knock us off our path. Rather, we should adopt positive coping strategies, which include positive thinking and sharing our emotions.

Finally, it’s important to have something you can return to that means something to you. This might be art, music, or serving your community. Grounding ourselves in something meaningful and purposeful lets us live our values authentically in some aspect of our lives. This gives us a sense of control inside ourselves, which is vital for developing good character and resilience.

In conclusion, character and resilience are two essential qualities to strive for in life. Character is about developing both moral and intellectual virtues, while resilience allows us to navigate the challenges of life with more ease. Building each one of these reinforces the other, and both are vital to living fulfilled and happy lives.

With intentional effort and practice, we can cultivate strong character traits and become better equipped to achieve our goals in life. By investing in ourselves and our supportive community, we can develop greater emotional resilience that will help us face adversity with grace and determination.

In the end, it is important to remember that developing strong character and resilience is not something that happens overnight. Rather, it is a process of continual learning and growing, as we strive to be our best selves. As life presents unexpected challenges, we can draw upon our strong character and resilience to find strength in adversity.

Evolving our moral character and embracing emotional resilience can give us the courage to make difficult decisions, allowing us to face uncertain times with greater fortitude. Taking care of our mental health and seeking out supportive relationships are also integral components of building resilience in everyday life. With genuine effort, character and resilience can be attained, making us more prepared for the success that comes our way.

If you want to learn more about resilience, check out Wesley and Andrew’s conversation on how to build character, where we break down the ways in which our habits and character are intimately tied.

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