We’re all human and we all need help being as happy as possible in this unpredictable world. The virtues, which were passed down to us from the Greek philosopher Aristotle and expanded, through Christ, by St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many others, still work today. The virtues give us a solid foundation of thought and behavior that results in less conflict inside us and outside us.
I’ll give you one example for starters. I used to think that saying bad things about people was OK if what I said was true. But I didn’t have it quite right – studying the virtues (and their opposites, the vices) clued me in that such talk is called “Detraction.” I learned that everyone has a right to his or her good reputation and it’s not for me to damage that without a good reason. Instead, I can practice the virtue of Justice by showing respect for the dignity of the other person. I can mind my own business and stay out of theirs. Then my mind is free for more positive things, like looking for that person’s good qualities. Really – this turns out to be kind of fun when you step back and see it as a creative challenge. And then you see how it improves your whole outlook on life.
When I concentrate on what’s good about others, I can see better what my real motives were: I justified the gossip by telling myself it was to “form a clear picture of reality,” but it was mostly to feel superior by cutting down someone else.
I hope my blog will become your favorite hub for info about how to live the virtues and a constant source of inspiration and knowledge. We’ll laugh about our own foibles while we’re learning how to remedy them. My wish for you is to experience the freedom and joy that come from learning about and practicing the virtues. You’ll find that doing so makes happiness possible for everyone.
In coming posts, I’ll share with you personal stories of success, tips and examples, book reviews, links to more info, historical writings, and more! Please leave comments; I’d love to hear from you, respond to your questions, and learn from your experiences. Together, we’ll make the virtue-happiness connection!