There are three layers to a human being’s character. The outermost or the external personality is a bundle of habits often formed from a young age that crystallises into a pattern. Most people observe this and take it for a person’s character. However this is merely habitual patterns of outer behaviour.
Behind this outer layer there is an inner layer where we have a range of thoughts and feelings and impulsions that rise and fall as waves upon a sea. In this pattern of waves that rise and fall, few tend to endure and show up frequently and due to repetition and habit tend to develop into a pattern that endures and is almost predictable. It includes his inner motives behind the outer actions. More accurately this is what would qualify as a man’s character in the true sense.
But there is a yet deeper layer, the core of a human being which is the most important element from the Divine point of view and that is the faith and will-to-be. It is this central driving force that truly determines the quality of a human being and defines his character.
Thus for example, how we walk, how we talk etc are our outer manners and behaviours and not character though very often most of us judge human beings through these outer observations. How we think and what is it that preoccupies our mind and thoughts and feelings and our motives and intents are the real determinants of our character but hardly anyone can know this except perhaps if someone has spent many years together though even that cannot be said with certainty. But at the core of it all is our aspiration and what we truly want to be, our faith in what we can become. It is this core that decides the type of humanity that we are and all the rest derive their true value from this.
The secret therefore is to first of all become aware and conscious of our aspiration, faith and will-to-be. Next we should allow to bring it out and not stifle it. It is this core to which the Gita gives the name of swadharma. The more we live in alignment to this core the more our personality blossoms and is aligned to the truth of our being. The more we stifle it, the more we start living a false and artificial life and eventually land up in unhappiness and despair because we are not following the truth of our being and the purpose for which we are here.