Monday, January 12, 2009

How Do You Measure A Person's Character?

In recent weeks I been reassessing the relationships I've built with people I consider friends, acquaintances, and everyone else in my circle. In an attempt to start '09 the right way, I figured it was necessary to not only look at others, but also myself.

I've always told myself that if you have a friend, and you know they're a liar, you can't be mad when you catch them in a lie. You simply have to accept them for who they are, and just be cautious. Point is, you can't change people. Does that mean you should never trust them or they're "bad" people? Well this is the very question I've been contemplating lately.

For instance, for many years my father and I had a very tumultuous relationship. To be quite honest, I'm not quite sure it could've been considered a relationship. I documented the entire ordeal in a song called "Daddy Dearest" many years ago. To make a long story short, after returning from a school retreat, I came home to a partially empty house. He had moved out, but what made it all the more difficult was the fact my mother had died a few months prior. So here am I am at 16 without any parents.

After everything happened, as would be expected, I held a lot of resentment towards my father. Somewhere along the line, I realized I needed to stop holding negative feelings towards him. The strange thing is, around the same time, he came back in my life. I guess he realized his mistakes, and figured it was time to make amends. Truthfully I don't know, but as it stands now, we have a great relationship.

My point is, do you judge a person purely on the basis of their actions? In certain instances you can, but most times, no. It wouldn't be fair unless you looked at all the factors that contributed to their actions. In the instance of my father, I think to myself, here is a man that realized his mistakes, accepted accountability, and made a conscious effort to rectify the situation. Does that mean his actions weren't F'd up. No, but how can I not look at everything in totality. So I've never outright articulated it, but I forgave him.

I say all of this because I'm once again reminded that you can't measure a person purely on what they do or don't do, but how willing they are to accept accountability for their actions. So I'll leave with this quote by Sara Paddison, “Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.”

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