Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Elenore Roosevelt has often been described as a courageous woman. Loyal, wise, and a seeker of justice are also a few of the virtues that are ascribed to her. I consider her a role model and in writing about virtues she came to mind as a great example of someone who epitomizes them.
What is virtue? Aristotle defines virtues as “a behavior that shows high moral standards: doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong.” Some examples of virtue are courage, wisdom, justice, magnanimity, and honesty. Our virtues can be few or many and show up in our actions.
Why are they important? Virtues are the traits we use to become the positive person that we choose to be and that extends to the betterment of the community.
How can we embrace virtues? We need to make the choice to acquire them and practice them. Even when they become a habit, we need to maintain awareness of them in our actions, and relationships.
Virtue vs values? There is a difference, and they are both important in our personal development. Our value(s) are subjective to each of us, and they help us to make decisions. People usually have one or two values that rise above others. My value is accountability. Someone else might have the value of knowledge or peace. Our virtues are our moral character. The choice we make to be a positive influence and/or a difference in the world. I think Simon Sinek is referring to virtues when he tweeted “Our passions are ignited when we set out to advance a cause greater than ourselves.”
I love Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, “I honor the human race. When it faces life head-on, it can almost remake itself. One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…I believe with all my heart: In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” In Relentless Lent we invite you to create redemptive, steadfast habits connecting our path with God’s. I wonder if choosing to live out our virtues is one of them.
I want to extend to you a question that a friend recently asked me. “Are virtues at your heart and what is at the heart of your virtues?”