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How can everything change in just one day? How can everything change in just one day?
“We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love, in... How can everything change in just one day?

“We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love, in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.” (unknown)

I came across this quote this weekend and wanted to share it with you. I never expected to be writing about relationships, as I’m definitely not the guy with all the answers when it comes to that. But, as I teach my clients in my book writing course, most writers don’t write because they have the answers, they write because they’re looking for some answers themselves, which they then share with the world. Here’s my take on one story I found while doing some deep soul searching and reflecting on relationships:

“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but we must live with a character.” – Peter de Vries

I write about the difference between personality (attitude) and character in my Happiness book in the context of networking – let’s explore the difference in the meaning of a relationship. “Personality” is easy to understand. Your personality is how people experience you. It’s your public persona. But what is “character?” And why is it so crucial in a relationship? Character is who you are when no one is watching.

Character is who you are when no one is watching.

Let’s go back to the time you first fell in love. When the two of you met, you met each other’s personalities. You showed your, at that time prospective, partner your public persona, and you in return were shown a public persona as well. I’m not saying you tricked each other. How you display yourself to others is just your personality.

But with any luck the relationship, and for some marriage, lasts too long in too close quarters for anyone to permanently sustain a public persona. Personalities eventually give way to an inner self that gets revealed for the first time. There you stand, naked as if no one is watching. But someone is watching. And that’s when you meet for the first time… again! You and your partner don’t meet the person who charmed each other’s friends, bought gifts for each other’s parents, and always smiled from ear to ear – no, this time it’s a meeting of your characters.

In many cases, it’s not only that you’re meeting each other for the first time, but it might very well be that you’re meeting yourself for the first time. Most people don’t recognize their own behaviour, and wouldn’t be caught dead treating anyone the way they treat their spouse.  “I’m just not myself with him/her.” Well then who is that person? That’s you…it’s your character.

I believe that one of the reasons so many people fail at long term relationships is not that they don’t like their partner, it’s that they don’t like themselves. While everyone else in their life is like a mirror reflecting their personality; their partner is a mirror reflecting their character. And most people don’t like what they see. Many people would rather choose to be with someone else than remain with their spouse and have to continue to be with themselves.

Balthasar Gracian wrote in his 17th century manual on success, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, as follows: “You are as much a real person as you are deep. As with the depths of a diamond, the interior is twice as important as the surface. There are people who are all facade, like a house left unfinished when the funds run out. They have the entrance of a palace but the inner rooms of a cottage.”

While I’m not necessarily a big believer in marriage, I do believe in long term relationships more than anything else. The movie “Shall we Dance” describes it best for me: we need a witness to our lives. Keeping your relationship alive goes hand-in-hand with developing the interior of your palace: personal growth and individual character development. If you want to improve one, work on the other too. That’s what character is about. Taking a positive stance towards your life. Having a zest for life, reigniting the fire of passion for doing the things you love. What would that be for you? What passion have you left ignored for too long? What have you stopped doing without even realizing it? To me, it’s crucial as my happiness at home is definitely more important than happiness at work (even though I wrote a book on the latter first).

Stick together, friends.

Curious to read more about Happiness? Get yourself a copy of my new book, available on Amazon now or directly at FreedomProjectBook.com.

Wilko van de Kamp Author | Artist | Advisor

Hi, I’m Wilko van de Kamp, creator of Liberty Training Academy and author of the Freedom Project book series. For more than 15 years, I have helped people and their companies achieve their own results beyond their goals. I work with authors, coaches and experts to build their brand to become a #1 industry influencer and increase their impact on the communities they serve. We focus on every aspect of personal brand building through technology and storytelling, with a relentless focus on accelerating the achievement of their personal, professional and financial goals. And I would love to do the same for you! To get a conversation started, please text me directly at 587-417-2697.