What Makes up a Person’s Character?

Character consists of a person’s mental and moral dispositions, manifested by his interaction with his environment and with other people. Character is the result of deeply held convictions, many of which form during childhood. External factors, especially trauma, have a major influence on character growth.

Character is made up of a number of inter-related concepts, including morals, values and prejudices. A person’s character is a combination of such mental tendencies and the way in which he channels them in his daily interactions. For example, “anal” characters are compulsive and perfectionist, “passive-aggressive” characters bottle up their anger and “narcissistic” characters express excessive self-centered behavior. Character influences relationships, career choices and interests.

Character is in large part a product of one’s childhood environment and relationship with his caregiver. Adverse or hurtful circumstances growing up lead to negative character traits. Neglect, condescension and spiteful language cause and provoke low self-esteem. Children come to believe that their personal qualities and way of being are undesirable and worthy of reproach. Thus, they repress these traits and develop feelings of fear, remorse and insecurity. These feelings continue into adulthood, and the individual is often unaware of the cause of his self-harming attitudes.

A healthy character includes such traits as self-discipline and confidence. Fairness and honesty also are healthy attributes, especially when applied both with oneself and with others.