“When a man’s fight begins with himself, he’s worth something.”
– Robert Browning
I’ve always taken this quote to mean that we sometimes fight/struggle because someone is trying to make us do something we don’t want to do, or become someone we don’t want to be. But when you decide yourself what you want to do and be, and fight your own weaknesses (your flaws, laziness, fears) to accomplish it, that’s character. It’s doing what we feel is right, rather than doing what comes easily. Is that how you would read it?
“A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another’s.”
– Jean Paul Richter
As I wrote on Tuesday, I love trying to figure people out. This quote is a reminder that I always see people in light of myself. And when I say something negative about them, it also says something about me – for example, the faults I point out are often the things I’m prideful about (They spend too much money, they spend too much time on their looks, they don’t work very hard – and I don’t.). And the good things I ignore are the things I take for granted, or and the things I haven’t bothered to notice.
Making a mental or verbal sketch of someone’s character is a chance to show humility (about what we don’t know), grace (about what we do), and thankfulness (for the person’s strengths, their quirks, and the ways they bless other people.