Character traits

It is true that we all inherit character traits from our parents and spending time with our peers means we absorb theirs too, but what if the character traits we have are there because of a condition we deal with? I was considered lazy at home and in school. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, or what I did, I didn’t manage to make the grades. No one talked about the fact that I was failing.

It was inevitable that I would struggle mentally, emotionally, physically and academically because of cerebral palsy and what I now know to be autism, but no one took the time to understand or ask questions that would help them understand ‘me;’ why I presented a certain way and what I had to deal with. Sadly, the things I struggled with didn’t tie in with people’s expectations of me.

Of course, some people without a disability will have traits that are annoying to others, but many of those traits are because of learned behaviour. For those with a disability like cerebral palsy, they may have certain emotional character traits because they don’t have the capability to behave in any other way.

There are also many other conditions that have a similar effect, such as bipolar, memory loss, dyslexia, or any condition where the brain has been negatively affected in some way. It is very easy to make assumptions and fail to understand why people behave in the way they do. We genuinely need to stand back and be more accepting of people, particularly when it comes to disabilities.

Perhaps, we would also be much better placed to help others if we set out to ask and understand, instead of assuming why someone presents in a certain way. We must ask and simply not assume.


23 Aug, 2011

6 thoughts on “Character traits

  1. I agree with what you have said here. The world needs to be more accepting.

    I’d like to say if people do not look beyond my outward appearance, to get to know the real person inside, then they are not worth knowing.

    My real friends accept me for me with all my faults and good qualities.

    1. Being accepted and having acceptance for the way we are, is the key… the same way we are accepting of others, with all their character traits.

      I totally agree that friends (or family) will be accepting if they want to be. In my own experience, though, the world we live in with all its stress factors, sometimes makes it difficult for that to happen.

  2. A lot of character traits may come from conditions that we have.

    I’m sure that my parents always considered me to be lazy, when most of the time I was just so depressed that I couldn’t even get out of bed on some days. It would be nice if the world was more accepting and tolerant of people who have a condition that may not always show on the outside.

    Hopefully someday that will be possible.

    1. Wonderful example Randy. It’s a shame your parents didn’t understand your depression as a child. How different things would have been for you back then if they had.

      At least you were aware and that is what matters. In some cases when we have an understanding of what we’re dealing with, we’re able to find ways to help ourselves. Thanks for posting today.

  3. I agree also. If people were more accepting of others with disabilities things would be much better for everyone. I was treated by my parents much like you were, so I understand where you’re coming from. In fact I don’t think my parents expected me to go too far.

    The doctors painted the worst picture to them about my future. Some people have in their minds that people can’t change and all is lost but that’s so far from the truth.

    People can change if they want to, they just have to want to do it.

    1. I agree with you Lisa.

      It seems to me that we’re defined by our character traits, rather than what we really deal with. If others understood why we behave a certain way, there would be more compassion, understanding and more help being brought into the equation.

      I think with disability, people’s lack of understanding of a particular condition and/or disability, gives rise to these kind of thoughts.

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