Virtue is the quality in your character that helps you choose and carry out good actions.
It develops deep inside you and makes doing the right thing easier. Virtue is for everyone!
Where Does the Word Come From?
The Latin word “virtus” means “manliness,” “strength,” “bravery.” This includes diverse strengths, such as compassion and patience. The Greek word for virtue, “aretē,” means “excellence” or “fulfilling your potential.” The qualities that you admire in others are all contained in the word “virtue.”
How Does it Work?
As you develop your habit of doing good, your virtue grows. Pretty soon, it’s second nature and you’re a happier, more peaceful person. Virtue is a core-strengthening exercise for the soul: a strong core means you’ll be less likely to get upset when things aren’t going your way. Virtuousness is “you” without all the obstacles and bad habits that used to bring you down.
What Will it Do For Me?
Are you happy? Strengthening your virtue will make your happiness more solid. Unhappy? Virtue makes misery optional.
What’s the History?
Virtue is nothing new – it’s been around a long time! Twenty-three hundred years ago, Aristotle taught that virtue makes happiness possible. It’s still true. He named what we now call the Cardinal Virtues: Justice, Courage, Temperance, and Prudence. All good choices are rooted in these four. Here’s how:
– Justice is doing the right thing, the goal of all good choices.
– Courage spurs you on to do the right thing even when it’s scary, difficult, or boring.
– Temperance holds you back from impulsive actions that would do harm.
– Prudence is the wisdom to know what to do (or not) right now and to carry that out.
Jesus Christ took virtue to the next level by describing it in the Beatitudes as a way of being, and left us three virtues that Aristotle didn’t know about: Faith, Hope, and Love. Writers since then have unpacked the meaning for us – that growth in virtue is the surest way to clear out obstacles that sap your energy and waste your best intentions. Growth in virtue gains you the freedom and resolve to grow your love and shrink your fear.