By Randy Snyder
As a preface to this introspective piece, this is the Merriman definition for virtues: conformity to a standard of right morality, a particular moral, excellence, a beneficial quality of power of a thing, also manly strengths or weaknesses of a person!
The 24 positive character strengths are split into six virtue classes:
- Wisdom: Creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective
- Courage: Honesty, bravery, persistence, zest
- Humanity: Kindness, love, social intelligence
- Justice: Fairness, leadership, teamwork
- Temperance: Forgiveness, modesty, prudence, self-regulation
- Transcendence: Appreciation of beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, religiousness
In my opinion, courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
Abraham Lincoln, a virtuous man said: “It has been my experience that people that have no vices have very few virtues!”
A virtuous person has high nearly flawless moral character, with a high work ethic is blameless and guiltless, sometimes leading to sanctimonious attitudes and behaviors!
Therefore it is important to add; “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues;” Confucius says.
We have all heard the term “virtue signaling,” a term most frequently used by news pundits!
It is a derogatory use of virtue examples and is defined as public expression of opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or social conscience or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue. Now with a deluge of presidential ads, we are exposed to virtue signaling on a regular basis by the candidates!
This is a good example of virtue signaling, which you may encounter in everyday life.
Virtue signaling, in its most basic form, describes when someone flaunts their views to make themselves look good in front of people they want to impress. And while declaring your values is a good thing, it doesn’t become so great when the things you say completely replace any action you could take to reach a solution.
Aristotle once said regarding a virtuous life and ensuing results “Happiness is being all that you can be for contentment and behavior towards others for a favorable relationship!”
Wisdom is not necessarily measured by your age! It is the result of open mindness, being a good listener and reader and always pursuing “what do I need to know about the world we live in and the people that occupy it?”
Courage as I said earlier, in my opinion is the most important virtue one can possess, only if visible to others! Courage is only meaningful if a consistent action no matter what the situation, and always displayed with zeal and a love for others and of course, self love!
Humanity and kindness are displayed in support for all mankind and the charity you donate to, the causes you volunteer for and always helping mankind, friend or strangers in need!
Justice is sometimes hard to facilitate as justice can be blind. If an action, an outcome, a verdict is unfair, never give up using all your energy and resources until justice is served! All great leaders place others first and no matter their position possess humility. Synergy through teamwork most often results in a favorable outcome! There are three types of teammates not needed in your life, “those that wait for it to happen, those that watched it happen and those that say “what happened!”
Temperance is a virtue that is seriously tested when it is necessary to forgive someone that has trespassed against you in one way or another! It is during trying times and disappointments in life that temper must be kept inward through discipline and self regulation. When things are external and you have absolutely no control over, the best adage may be is to pray about it!
Transcendence is perhaps best described as the ability to go over and above your normal limits and action to achieve a desirable outcome! Although an irritable person or situation is far from civility, it is important to remain superior in your actions and thoughts! Always ferreting out the good in any situation, the beauty before you and even if the only explanation is calling upon your beliefs possible because of your religion to give thanks and express love to those in need human beings, society in general and of course animals!
My hope is that the readers, with a better understanding of virtues and character strength turn within themselves and become more virtuous after a candid self evaluation. Secondly when it is necessary to analyze a leader, a candidate for office, a boss, a spouse, and too many others to mention, the understanding of virtues and virtue signaling will result in your corroboration or lack thereof as necessary!