Warren Susman, esteemed author and historian, once wrote about how the word “character” was one of the most important words in 19th century English vocabulary.

It was crucial to society at the time to promote the idea of having good character—it was the one thing that could stand the test of time and define who you were as an individual.

But this emphasis shifted over the decades, as society transformed from one that valued character and good virtue to one of material and entertainment.

Developing these characteristics that would make you a good person became outdated ideas; even the role models of today barely showcase the “character” that we once loved and respected.

Fortunately, there’s no reason why you can’t emphasize your own character development, which is inextricably associated with your happiness. Here are 20 traits that will lead you to improving your character and helping you find true happiness:

1) Self-Discipline

Your raw emotions and base desires don’t control what you do or say.

You have the strength and willpower to overcome your initial urges and do what’s right, using self-control to achieve long-term goals.

2) Reliability

You have a word that others can rely on. When you commit to something, your community knows that they can expect you to be there.

You’ve spent a lifetime proving that you will always be around when you are needed.

3) Lovingness

You aren’t one to hold grudges; instead, you prefer to spread love and positivity. This means more than just saying “I love you” and sending out Valentine’s cards.

You show your love through positive, proactive acts and expressions, and aim to make the world a better place.

4) Politeness

You know the meaning of courtesies and proper manners, even if it may seem old-fashioned in this day and age.

You don’t let what other people say about you get in the way of doing the right and polite things, and you always work to improve the way you behave.

5) Generosity

You aren’t one to hold back when others need you.

You prioritize the happiness and well-being of others, so much that you are always open to giving some of your time and energy to other people in their times of need.

6) Authenticity

You are the real you, all the time.

While others may sometimes pretend to be something they are not, just to climb up the social ladder, you will always be authentic to yourself and show people the one and only you.

7) Fairness

You know the importance of sticking to the law, even when it doesn’t suit you.

You believe that the best way to keep your integrity is to remain fair at all times, no matter what the consequences may bring.

8) Humility

While you are a confident and strong individual, you understand that there are moments when it is better to lower your own sense of self-importance.

You don’t believe that you are too good for anything or better than other people.

9) Respectfulness

Kindness, civility, and absolute honest. You respect everyone in your community, big or small.

It doesn’t matter who they are, you believe that all people deserve respect, regardless of their flaws or imperfections.

10) Honesty

Lies aren’t something that come easily to you, because honesty is one of your key attributes.

And being honest is more than just about not telling a lie; it’s about living a life of honesty. In every interaction you have, you are straightforward and frank.

11) Conscientiousness

You are always conscientious of every activity that you are a part of, because you believe that every task and job requires the same amount of respect and attention.

You are vigilant and upright, even when no one else is looking.

12) Optimism

This isn’t just about being blindly positive, because no one can be that way and still live an honest life.

Optimism is about being hopeful, looking forward to a future that you can improve with your actions of today.

13) Kindness

Kindness is second nature to you, and is the basis behind most of your other character traits.

You don’t even give it a second thought when you are asked to be considerate or helpful to another person.

Your motivation comes from the need to help others, not to benefit yourself.

14) Perseverance

Through thick and thin, you are ready to give it your all.

You have the determination to see even the toughest situations out to their end, no matter how uncomfortable they may make you.

15) Courage

While there might be some things that scare you, that doesn’t mean you will back out of a commitment or a responsibility simply due to that fear.

True courage is not about being immune to fears, because the truth is we all have our own fears. True courage is about continuing on in spite of them.

16) Forgiveness

You know how to let bygones be bygones. Grudges are a thing of the past, and old angers and negativity fade away over time.

You aren’t afraid to be the bigger person and forgive those who have wronged or hurt you.

17) Compassion

There is a voice inside of you that cries out in pain when you see others who are suffering.

You have an immense desire to save the world from hardship and sadness, and do whatever you can to help relieve others.

18) Responsibility

You take responsibility with a clear mind, and always follow through on your commitments.

You understand that there are people who rely on you, and you always make sure to proactively work on those you are responsible for.

19) Loyalty

Rain or shine, you’re always by the side of those you love. You are a loyal friend, companion, and partner, and you will never turn your back on those who have earned your trust.

20) Integrity

And finally, integrity. A big word with a simple definition. To have integrity means to have unbreakable moral principles.

It is by these rules that you live your life, making every decision with your core values in mind.

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