Does anyone remember learning about the seven deadly sins and the seven heavenly virtues? Here they are in case you forgot or are not familiar with them (I just cut and pasted this from Wikipedia because not many people click on the links according to my stats, so I thought I’d make it easy for you, skip over or click through if you’d like to read more):
|Chastity||Castitas||Purity, knowledge, honesty, wisdom||Lust|
|Temperance||Temperantia||Self control, justice, honour, abstention||Gluttony|
|Charity||Caritas||Will, benevolence, generosity, sacrifice||Greed|
|Diligence||Industria||Persistence, effort, ethics, rectitude||Sloth|
|Patience||Patientia||Peace, mercy, ahimsa, sufferance||Wrath|
|Kindness||Humanitas||Satisfaction, loyalty, compassion, integrity||Envy|
|Humility||Humilitas||Bravery, modesty, reverence, altruism||Pride|
So today I’d like to take a moment to discuss some human traits, in the spirit of the virtues and vices we are all encouraged to aspire to or avoid. They are in the same vein as the traditional sins and virtues, with a contemporary twist that makes more sense to me personally based on my own experiences. You don’t have to agree though.
|Resilience||Strength, flexibility, adaptability, hope, spirit, optimism, persistence||Defeatism||Victimization, blame, inflexibility, resignation, pessimism, despondency, fatalism, sloth|
|Creativity||Inspiration, ingenuity, resourcefulness, imagination, vision, originality, eccentricity||Ignorance||Impotence, incapacity, weakness, stagnation, destruction|
|Kindness||Charity, empathy, compassion, generosity, thoughtfulness, benevolence, altruism, concern||Malevolence||Greed, self-interest, cruelty, disinterest, malice, cruelty, viciousness, spitefulness, meanness|
|Honesty||Sincerity, candor, earnest, truthfulness, authenticity, straightforwardness, Openness,||Deceitfulness||Fraudulence, untruthfulness, lying, insincerity, manipulation, two-faced, mendacity, spuriousness|
|Integrity||Reliability, steadfastness, commitment, resoluteness, loyalty, dependability, faithfulness, consistency, trustworthiness||Corruption||Depravity, exploitation, fraudulence, fickleness, unreliability, shiftiness, frivolousness, flippancy|
|Morality||Decency, honor, virtuousness, scrupulousness, distinction, respectfulness||Amorality||Unscrupulousness, maliciousness, self-interest, vindictiveness, depravity|
|Humility||Modesty, unpretentiousness, self-efficacy, decorum, well-mannered, gentility, restraint, grace, graciousness||Arrogance||Conceit, pride, self-importance, smugness, immodesty, vanity, pomposity, disdain, condescension, aloofness, snobbery, haughtiness, douchebaggery,|
|Humour||Wit, comicality, cheerfulness, mirth, glee, joviality, merriment, bonhomie, joy, laughter, lightheartedness, wonder, delightfulness, blissfulness||Criticism/ Misery||Woe, dejection, desolation, wretchedness, judgment, melancholy, despair, gloom, pessimism, mean-spiritedness, cruelty|
If you are still with me, let us unpack this for a bit.
We all have a bit of any or all of these traits in us. At any given time we can demonstrate a combination of many of the good and bad descriptors on this list.
The reason thinking about it and writing it down helped me, was I got a chance to see the words on my screen and ask myself honestly what I was demonstrating when making decisions or deciding how to feel about something.
So when something happens contrary to what I’d hoped, I can happily refer to my list of virtues and defects and decide if I want to be resilient or defeatist, or choose good humour rather than criticism. I can take it as a learning curve or I can be bitter, and at 36 years of age, I am just barely smart enough after my many experiences to more often than not know which is which.
I’ll leave it there for today, as for me, even just reading the lists sporadically has given me pause and the impetus to curb my behaviour and act a little less rashly when things don’t go my way. I’m printing both the old school and my amended versions of the list and posting them on the fridge as a quiet reminder to strive for a more virtuous existence. Heaven knows I fall short, but I have less excuse for it when it is printed and staring me in the face as I reach for a midnight snack.
Thanks for reading.