What shapes us? What makes us tick? What makes us who we are at any given moment? Our experiences. The dramatic experiences certainly shape decisions. When we suffer a bad break up, for example, some are inclined to make lists and “never do that again” as a means to learn the lesson. What makes us tick?

I am very interested in people’s stories. Everyone has one. Everyone is interesting. Everyone has a story. What has tempted us? What gut reaction occurs, when we are in the thick of a dramatic situation, to push us one way over another?

I am going to generalize for a moment. It seems that when faced with decisions, there are two basic ways we can react: make a decision or find more information. Each situation we encounter dictates a choice. We are driving to the store, should we take the North road or the South? What’s traffic like? Are there any obstacles? Do we have any needs or feelings to assuage for this decision?

What happens when the situation is more personal? How do we react when we think it’s personal? How do we react after a situation? After we’ve had time to reflect and process and try to make sense of it all?

I’ve heard it said that character is defined when no one is watching. Presumably that if we make a decision when no on is around to influence the decision, and if that decision is a ‘good” decision, then we’d be defined by good character. But don’t our reactions to personal situations before and after reflection have a better showcase of what our character is?

When shown conflict, ask questions first, gather information, then decide. Go to the source, whenever possible. Hearsay, no matter how well-intentioned, can often lead to misinformation. Understanding boundaries, their importance, and how to healthfully enforce them – I think – can protect us and our character when faced with these situations.


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