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Judging Your Own Character

by Ron Kurtus (revised 21 September 2013)

People seldom judge their own character, and if they do, it would most likely be in a positive sense.

If asked, "What type of person are you?" most people would claim that their personal, social and cultural character traits were pretty good. Usually, viewing yourself in a negative sense is an indication of a mental or emotional health problem.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Judging your personal character

Personal character traits concern attitudes toward obstacles in performing a task or achieving a goal. Most people judge their own personal traits in a positive manner, even though they may admit some minor flaws.

A person who is held back from achievement due to fears will often rationalize those fears and point to other areas where he or she is courageous. A person perceived by others as lazy will point out that the work just wasn't worth the trouble. In fact, some actually believe that being lazy is an admirable trait.

In asking a someone, "What type of person are you with respect to achieving goals?" most people would say that they do get important things done.

You may judge your own personal character by through your self-talk. You might say to yourself, "I am the type of person who is courageous when dealing with stressful situations." What you are saying is that you have good personal character.

Judging your social character

Social character traits concern attitudes and actions toward other people, especially with respect to honesty. Most people judge their own social traits in a positive manner, despite admitting some minor flaws.

A person who promises to do something but then doesn't follow through will justify such actions as doing what was more important. They don't seem to realize that others believe them when they say they will do a task or come on time.

In asking someone, "What type of person are you in dealing with other people?" most would say that they are good and considerate of others.

During the trial of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, he is reported to have said, "Basically, I'm a decent person."

Often people judge their own social character as good, even though they may steal or do other bad things. They usually feel they are a good person, but circumstances required them to be dishonest, unreliable or obnoxious.

Judging your cultural character

Cultural character concerns following the rules of your religion, organization, culture or government. Most people do things they feel are important or necessary.

Some people will feel they are religious, even though they seldom attend church and often break religious rules. But others may fall away from their religion, simply because they don't believe in it any more. In their own eyes, they do not believe they are bad people.

Likewise, within their own cultural community, a person may abandon his or her cultural rules because of lack of belief in it. They have moved on to a different culture with less stringent rules.

In general, people judge their cultural character according to the rules they believe are valid for their lifestyle. But still, some may feel guilty if what they do breaks rules that they were taught as young children.


If asked, "What type of person are you?" most people would claim that their character traits were pretty good. Often, they will rationalize on their shortcomings as, perhaps due to circumstances.

Be true to yourself

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