Greek kharakter, meaning “imprint on the soul”

October 2nd, 2015

Caring imprints on the soul form when a man is loyal to his highest self, where thoughts and actions germinate from a place of integrity and are practised as reflexes. With each passing day, from childhood, thoughts rooted in value strengthen and become increasingly defined, crystallising into the Greek meaning of character—imprints on the soul.

When a child cares deeply for his soul, he will naturally invest in qualities such as self-value, compassion, sincerity, gratitude, and self-reliance. And positive reinforcements along with repetitive actions solidify a child’s altruistic thoughts in his blueprint. As the child grows, immaterial of his circumstances, his moral compass will define his actions. The more significant life’s challenges, the stronger the workings of these qualities to retain his highest self.

On the other hand, when a child, due to circumstances, is forced to navigate from an impoverished place to survive, he will invest in lower quality emotions such as lack of self-respect, fear, resentment, shame, and insincerity. This child will systematically abandon his loyalty to his highest self and consistently move toward his lowest person. Once he is divorced from his soul, no level of education, international travel, material things, command over multiple languages, professional success, or connections to people in power can restore his character. If anything, a person who did not care to cherish and nourish his soul will never rise to understand the rudiments of humanity.

Over the decades, I have experienced the following set of qualities and behaviours in individuals lacking in character.


Lack of self-value

A man lacking self-value goes through life self-absorbed. The things he possesses, the worth of others, and his outward image, define his value.


Lack of integrity

Moral principles are practiced as a whole. A person lacking character will claim to practice integrity selectively.


Lack of simplicity

Simplicity comes from being comfortable in your skin. Those without self-value create undue complexity to make themselves appear smart and significant.


Lack of authenticity

People lacking in character present an inaccurate picture of themselves to gain the approval of others. Authenticity does not manifest from a place rooted in shame and superficiality.


Lack of individuality

Man’s thinking and emotions have to manifest from within, as do his desires to act upon them. But when one becomes an image, he becomes part of a herd that adheres to conformity.


Lack of originality

Originality flows like a gushing stream from those who feel and think independently. People who lack character steal ideas and creations to build their lives.



Courage does not stem from fear; it is rooted in love. A man lacking character exists in a place of fear.


Lack of graciousness

An inherent sense of comfort and class allow a man to go through life graciously.  A man lacking in character attempts to mimic graciousness, but his imitations are vulgar.


Lack of humility

Inadequacy, ineptness, and inferiority are displayed through a man’s arrogance. Even when a man tries to exhibit humility, his innermost feelings of shame manifest as arrogance.



A man divorced from his internal locus is wired to take from the world. He cruises through life filling his emptiness, caring little about the implications of his actions. Even supporting a charity is about self-support—a PR (Public Relations) operation to further his image.


Lack of empathy

When a man focuses on manipulating others to serve his emptiness and greed, self-love dies. And a life that has not realised its potential to blossom can never extend compassion to another. Characterless people become objects. Objects only accumulate dust; they don’t develop emotional sparkle.


Lack of gratitude

Joy and gratitude go together. A parched soul rooted in shame and greed cannot feel joyful or grateful. It is a discontent soul that is chasing more and more.


Lack of self-respect

A person who lacks self–value will demonstrate a lack of respect, which manifests in behaviours such as talking down, conveniently forgetting what is of significance, being intrusive, and denying your truth.



A man ashamed of his true identity—his roots—will work incredibly hard at gulping down information, memorizing names of the “best” restaurants, “coolest” places, “right” people, “must read” books, “it” films…anything he can vomit to overcompensate for his lack of substance. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tries, his crudeness comes to the surface.


Outward perfection

Those lacking in character masquerade with perfection, never showing their vulnerability—hoping no one sees their brokenness and meagerness.



People lacking in character spread honey-like charm to fool others. By being overly kind, abnormally attentive, consistently encouraging, and lavishing praise on those they dislike (to mislead people), they earn the reputation they intended: “He is perfect, he is amazing, he can’t hurt a wasp.” By creating a reputation, they know that others will find it difficult to discern their true identity.


Shallow laughter

The more superficial a person, the shallower his laughter (even when it is loud). This pretentiousness laughter lacks the rumble of honesty, gratitude, and wholeheartedness.


Staged living

For all the effort they invest into appearances, they don’t invest in cleanliness, tranquility, and wellness as their way of being in the world.



Shame and judging go together. When you feel others are judging you, it is because you judge people.


Double standards

Unlike people of character who treat people uniformly, a person lacking character treats people differently, based on their social standing and outward success, as they are incapable of creating high standards and must leech on to those who can give them access to the world they desire.


Weak foundation

An individual can be a pillar of strength to others when his foundation is built on strong pillars of integrity, courage, and compassion. A person lacking in character builds on a shaky foundation of emotional poverty; he can never be a source of strength.



The moment we start lying about our past and our journey, substituting it with lies to be accepted, we create the second face. Once this double face is created, man loses self-identify and wears different masks for different people.



Through your worst and best times, a person rooted in scarcity will only see how your situation will best serve him. The poverty of his mind is devoid of high-mindedness to think how his life can be of value to you.



Greed does not allow a man to see beyond what he can grab at the moment. A man with poor character lacks the foresight to invest in people long term.


Cast off, cast in

A characterless person will cast you off or cast you in depending on whether they see worth in you. When your productive value is not appreciated, you will be demoted. And when they sense a flicker of external value in you, they will cautiously promote you. Once they see visible success, they will ass kiss (champagne toast and French kiss too!).



A man of poor character does not walk the talk—he exhibits a dissonance between his words and actions.


They “hear” you

People lacking in character will ask about your situation, to get information. Despite their request, they choose not to LISTEN. Their body language will inform you they are not “checked in.” They are focused on evading, making excuses, and manoeuvring away from your situation.



Committing would mean having to take a stand and doing the right thing. On the other hand, being vague, forgetful, and glossing over allows a man to shrug off making difficult decisions. Emotional poverty struck people do well in showing up after the storm settles, acting as though nothing happened.



Reliability comes with integrity. A person with integrity will commit and deliver, whereas a person lacking integrity will consistently fail to deliver.


Lack of independent decision-making

If you are in an emergency and need help, you can’t call people lacking in character—lack of moral courage cannot think independently and arrive at decisions. Such people will have to check in with twenty people and then another twenty to reach a response, which is often an excuse or a lie.



Under the guise of concern and encouragement, characterless individuals will misguide you. They will play on your vulnerability and attempt to lead you down the wrong path.


Small actions

A minuscule existence guarantees minuscule thinking, which in turn ensures minuscule actions.


No compliment policy

The smallness and shame of people lacking in character will not allow them to acknowledge your growth or progress. They might make a generalised statement, or pass an indirect comment, but they will never give you a sincere compliment.



People lacking in character will not only tell your story, but they will also churn the gossip mill—to distract from their situation and shame.



A man rooted in character, when in the wrong, remains open, approachable, and humble. He will take ownership of his actions. Whereas a man lacking in character, when in the wrong, is defensive, he will deny his actions and blame you.



Lack of character and lying go hand in hand, where lying is not limited to outsiders—they lie to their spouses, children, and closest friends too.



Lack of self-value makes a man emotionally weak. A weak person is good only for a shallow existence and good times. It takes a man of character to show up in times that call for independent decision-making and other focused actions.



When a man’s being is not well, he cannot be happy for your well-being. Immaterial of his status, his inherent inadequacy will prevent him from celebrating you or helping you accomplish your dreams.


Passive aggressive

Those lacking in character demonstrate a consistent pattern of veiled abuse, adorning their countenances with smiles while their cores writhe. Passive aggressive people feign forgetfulness, busyness, and procrastination. Their words are sugar-coated while their tone announces fumes pushing through saccharine.



Thanks to not caring for their soul, they are reckless with people’s emotions, time, dreams, lives, and money. They repeatedly show you why you should be careful around them.



Where you can experience a man of character through his energy, gestures, tone, words, and micro-expressions, you can “see” a man lacking in character—his loudness masks his lowest self while he performs mimicked care.



Lack of character is practised both independently and in collaboration with others, from couples to families and as a collective society. Here poor behaviour is reinforced to maintain valueless existence.


It’s unlikely that a man whose character is made up of substandard emotions of scarcity, shame, and superficiality will grow into a man of character at 35, 55, or 75 (unless of course, he experiences a life-altering moment that forces him to question his existence). If anything he will age as a characterless fake, an image with no substance. Such a person is like a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag—it can masquerade like an original, but it will never be carried down the runway at a Paris fashion show to Bernard Arnault’s [CEO of LVMH] standing ovation with cheers of “Tres bien, tres bien!”

One can’t conjure character—it is permanently innate. Ultimately, character is about how much you “care” about yourself and how willing you are to invest in the betterment of yourself. When you are self-reflective and dare to start the conversation within, you can embark on a journey to caringly construct your character. On the other hand, a man who fails to build a relationship with his core can never transform and influence from a place of compassion and goodness. But he can bring out the best in others who sincerely care for their soul—this holds true for me—by diligently honouring their lowest self and practising their worst, people with poverty of character have inadvertently brought out the best in me. To quote Lucius Annaeus Seneca, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” I owe my emotional sparkle to people lacking in character.



P.S. Having learned the hard way that those stripped of character flutter close to those blessed with it, I do not vouch for anyone’s character. So please evaluate people independent of association.