Those who don’t know me could easily assume that I have good-standing character, and for the most part, I do. For the most part, I am good-natured, relatable, level-headed, and, dare I say, even a little funny. That is, until I’m upset, triggered, or completely done with a situation—people see another side of me then. If they don’t see that side, they don’t see me at all because I ghost them or just become completely distant. I’m in my mid-30s and I’m just learning healthy conflict resolution. Still, my lack of experience does not excuse who I become and the dark feelings I develop when things do not go my way.
Since I was young, I have always strived to be a “good” person. I rarely lied. I didn’t steal or cheat, and I tried my best to help others to the point that I overgave and overextended myself. “Good” to me was compliance, and treating others well. But being “good” didn’t mean that I had good character. It’s only recently that I have had to face an inner reckoning that goodness and good character are not synonymous.
I am learning that good character is all about developing the beliefs, habits, and morals that are needed for our specific path. Good character is not about being authentic to who we are—because some of us are authentically dismantled and disruptive just as we can be authentically caring and supportive—but becoming the person we need to be to fulfill our God-given assignment. Within the Isese/Orisa tradition, IWA (character) is the foundation. The strength of our character (or lack thereof) facilitates (or disrupts) our ancestral healing and spiritual guidance, and now I am at a point where I have to decide how serious I am about my character development.
My character has been continually called out over the past few months, and it’s been triggering, to say the least. There’s an internal battle that flares up more times than I want to admit because there’s an old belief system within me that needs to be uprooted. While this belief system is authentic to me, it is not something I can take on this next leg of my healing journey. I mean, I could but I won’t get far.
My issues surrounding overanalyzing, fear-cycling, moodiness, arrogance, and nonchalance are a few of the critical issues that I need to address. It’s not just because these issues do not support my well-being, they push me off the path of being in alignment.
As I move deeper into understanding and embodying the principles of IFA, I move deeper into examining the makeup of my character. It’s not a journey in which I expect to “arrive,” but a path that I hope to consistently evaluate and evolve within. Good character is more than checking good deeds and behaviors off of a list. It is the embodiment and cultivation of God’s guidance that informs my daily life and well-being. It is my ability to receive direction and correction and the will to keep going. This year, I am committing to my character development and overhauling the persistent issues that keep me from my best self. I know it won’t be easy, but I deeply feel that it will push me in the direction of where I am meant to be.