Virtues


Interest:

To recognise our own positive qualities and be able to have access to them in our projects and daily activities.
It is important, if possible, to do this practice in a group with other people.

1. Recognition of one’s own positive qualities or virtues.

Generally when we talk about "personal improvement", most people recognise that throughout their lives they have been concerned about and have tried to find and change behaviours and attitudes that did not seem favorable. Whether performing specialised studies or simply in improvised and spontaneous ways, (like "talking to oneself") at some point we have tried to improve ourselves.

If we talk about improving ourselves or "overcoming things" (as the saying goes), we always imagine improving or overcoming "difficulties" or "personal defects". Surely we have tried to fight those personal negative characteristics, and probably to a greater or lesser extent we have made some changes, some personal improvement. This is certainly one way to know ourselves and is fine.

Now we will attempt a different type of work. We will try to recognise the interesting things about ourselves - our positive qualities, our good attitudes, the personal virtues that we see in ourselves or that others see in us.

For this one has to "clear one’s mind" a little, try to put aside those negative things, and without "getting stuck” or feeling embarrassed, try to recognise our own strengths.

What interesting things do I recognise in myself? We are not talking about things that happened to us, or things that have gone well; we are talking about what is interesting about me, my positive personal qualities, my virtues, my best attributes.

a) Make a list of your positive qualities, personal attributes, or virtues.
Think about and try to feel your most interesting qualities, and write them down in your notebook. Do not worry if this is hard at first. Try to disregard any negative thoughts; just relax, clear your mind, and be open to what is positive in you.

b) Now look at the other people in the group. See that they also have interesting qualities. Notice their strengths, the best things about them, and tell them what you see. Try to be as honest as possible. They in turn will tell you what is interesting about you. Make a new list in your notebook of the positive qualities others see in you.

c) Take the list of qualities you saw in yourself, and the list of qualities others saw in you, and combine them into one list.
Take virtue by virtue and "feel" which ones are the most important, which ones feel like the most interesting?

d) Arrange the positive qualities in this list from greatest to least value.
Do not forget the two points of view, your own and that of others. Others can see as remarkable many personal qualities that we ourselves consider insignificant.

2 . Taking advantage of our virtues in every day situations

We often find it easier to pay attention to the negative qualities we see in ourselves and in others. This is because our culture and education tend to emphasize the negative, what doesn´t work, our human defects.

When we look for the positive in ourselves and in others, we see through different eyes. This is a whole different way of living from "just going on living". Negativity has no place in this new way of being.

When people say they want to “just go on living", it´s more like they were saying they want to "just go on dying."

From now on, try adopting a new, positive lifestyle.
Imagine a new way of living in which you use your best qualities.
Explain briefly to others how you can strengthen your virtues by using them in everyday life.

Exercise:

Come up with a "strength aphorism" that reminds you to use your most important positive qualities. Write it on a large piece of paper and put it in a prominent place in your home.


download: Virtues.pdf






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