Is it a Virtue?

During this pandemic and quarantine I have spent some time thinking about the actions of my past and analyzing my character traits.  What I used to think of as virtues may actually turn out to be vices I use to avoid creating my own best self.

The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues.

Rene Descartes

One of these is my need to take care of other people at the expense of my own health.  In the past, I would not even think, “What do I need right now?”  If someone else had a need, I would give up my exercise or “me” time to please the other person.

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

Another example of this is when I would spend so much time worrying about other people’s choices for their lives.  It is much easier to be critical of the decisions other people decide to make than it is to look critically at my own decisions.  

I would also never allow myself to prosper financially because I had some skewed belief that people who struggle financially are more pious and religious. This probably came from the fact that my parents were very spiritual people and they were always struggling financially.  One has nothing to do with the other, but somehow in my mind I connected these two things.  

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Helen Keller

Instead, now I am able to look at my self and decide which traits I should fortify and which ones I should discourage.  

Character traits I want to strengthen in myself:

  • Self-discipline
  • Grit
  • Curiosity
  • Social intelligence
  • Zest
  • Optimism
  • Gratitude
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Character traits I want to suppress:

  • Jealousy
  • Opinionated
  • Indecisive
  • Obstinate
  • Pessimistic 
  • Insensitive
  • Judgmental

Profound sincerity is the only basis of talent as of character.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our lives are constantly changing and it is imperative that we keep up with the changes and be aware of how we want to live.  It is only by looking at the person I am that I can work toward the person I want to be.  Just for today, let me listen to my words and watch my actions so I can become my best self. 

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