YOUR VIRTUES IN ACTION
“My momma always said…,” okay, really now, my Mom always told me that I was only as good as my word. My grandfather spoke these words of wisdom to her and she passed them on to me. This phrase served me very well. It became one of my highest virtues. People who know me know that I do what I say I am going to do. I don’t always get it right, but this has certainly been a great virtue for me to live by.
So how is your character? Let’s do a check in. What are the key virtues that you live by? For example: Honesty, Respect, Loyalty, Faith, Courage, Love. Let’s call these the Big Six. What are they for you? Deliberately following your virtues is your key to emotional freedom.
Let’s look at these virtues in action.
Tell the truth, folks. Be honest with yourself and others. People deserve it. Now, if honesty becomes cruelty, then don’t say it! Watch what you say. It is more important to be kind in some situations than brutally honest. Soften your words; be kind. Men, have you ever been put in a position to answer the question, “Honey, do these jeans make my butt look fat?” Yeah, that question! Women, don’t ask this question! It is a lose/lose situation. The question would not be asked if the woman liked her own butt in the first place! It’s a trap question for both of you. I’m having fun but really, tell the truth.
Most of us know the golden rule: Whoever has the most gold makes the rules. Just kidding, although that is very true. I am referring to a different golden rule. Heck, if we want, we can go golden or platinum. The golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. The platinum rule: Treat others the way they like to be treated. Both rules are great. Just respect each other. When you have respect for yourself, you will have respect for others.
One way to show respect is while you are driving. One morning, I accidentally cut someone off and they promptly put their finger out the window and showed me I was number one. I got the one finger salute! All I could think of was how miserable that person must be. It was unfortunate that my little mistake put them in such a huge reckless state. I felt sorry for them. Here’s a great rule to follow: When I am angry, I am stupid. Respect each other and don’t let others who disrespect you pull you into anger.
I am referring to honoring your commitments here. Loyalty is when you do what you say you are going to do. If we don’t deliver on what we said we were going to do, it causes a small piece of mistrust to build up in others toward us. Eventually, when someone knows they can’t count on you, well, that is pretty much the beginning of the end. If you say you are going to do it, then do it. If you don’t do it, apologize and make it right. Loyalty is about keeping your commitments to yourself and to each other.
Trust that God has destined you for greatness. Expect the best out of life. Trust that everything is going to be okay. Trust that whatever is happening at the time, whether good or bad, will somehow serve you for the better in the long run. We all have faith, even if we don’t think we do. Every time you kiss your family goodbye for the day, you are practicing faith that everyone will return home safely.
Courage is going after what you want. Courage is stepping up to fear and pushing through it. Courage is going after what you want despite the voice inside telling you not to. We go into this one deeper later on.
Looking beyond our own various self-interests and performing actions that benefit others is the highest form of character in action. Isn’t unconditional love the ultimate in achieving bliss? To be able to say, “I love you” to those you like is remarkable. To be able to say, “I love you” to those you don’t like or to those you don’t know is the highest form of self-growth there is.