Virtue (noun): behavior showing high moral standards and moral excellence.
Virtues are valued as being the foundation of what it means to be a good person. These characteristics promote the best version of ourselves, and helps us to make sure we are doing right instead of wrong.
When we forget our values, morals and virtues, we can slip quickly into a life of darkness and sin. When we hold these virtues close to our heart, we have a life that is meaningful and worth living. Here are some of the virtues you need to incorporate in your day-to-day life to have a brighter future.
To be truly grateful means to look at each individual gift you have been blessed with and appreciating them for what they have given you. From the smallest things, like having a sunny day on your birthday, to the biggest of presents like a gifted car from a family member, and everything in between, we need to stop and recognize what we have been given.
The most important virtue for success is the ability to cooperate. If you can’t play well with others, then you’re going to get kicked out of the sandbox. We have to understand that everyone, including ourselves, will need help sometimes. In addition, we are not always right and we don't always know the best answer. When we work well with others, however, we can become better leaders that do what is best for everyone.
Maya Angelou said, "People won't remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel." Are you someone that makes people feel good about themselves? Do you lift others up when they are feeling down and need it the most? Think of how great you feel anytime someone makes you smile. It costs absolutely nothing to be kind to others, even strangers, so share abundantly.
Humility is the leadership quality of taking the brunt of the blame when things go south and giving away the majority of the credit when things go well. The leader who practices humility will never ask anyone to do what they themselves cannot do. Humility is leading from a position of service, and understanding that others helped you to get to where you are.
Empathy is the ability to put aside your ego, step into someone else’s shoes and experience their emotions. When we do this, we create deep, meaningful connections with others. Feeling loved, connected, and wanted is our number one emotional need. It's not only good for the person that needs empathy, but beneficial for us too.
Forgiving others means giving up on the desire to "collect a debt" from them, or make things even. You may have heard the popular quote from Gandhi that says, "an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." When you no longer have hate in your heart and a need for revenge, it means you can finally feel free and move on from the problem. This is harder said than done, but forgiveness can really lift a lot of pain off of your shoulders you have been holding on to.
Courage doesn't mean that you aren't afraid, but rather it means you have the strength to keep moving forward when faced with fear. When we choose to fight back and stand up for ourselves or what is right, we are serving up justice. This is an important virtue to have because it is used in conjunction with so many other virtues, such as kindness. If we see someone getting bullied, for example, we can show that person being hurt kindness by displaying courage against their attackers.
Grace is giving something to someone who hasn’t earned it, doesn’t deserve it and yet we give it anyway. We give others grace because we know the opposite, showing distaste or anger, wouldn't help solve the situation. Instead, we know the positive emotions would make a better choice. Simply put, grace is giving someone dessert even though they didn’t eat their vegetables.
Tenacity is the ability to stick it out and never give up, to keep going when things are tough and there is no end in sight. In these situations, those with this virtue keep going and jump over the hurtles instead of letting it hold them back. This is the only way to live a life of contentedness because regret only happens when we give up.
Being true to yourself isn’t easy. Pulling off the mask that hides your flaws and living in the fullness of who you are can be absolutely terrifying, because no one likes being judged or mocked. However when you do act authentically, you will feel a freedom you haven't felt before. In addition, it creates a precedent that gives others the courage to do the same.
Leading a virtuous life might sound like something that is just for the super religious people out there, but it is really something each one of us can aim for. When we put in effort to be better people, the world elevates too. We can work on developing our virtues in our day-to-day interactions and lead a better life because of it.