As you mature into young adulthood, the negative influences of the world can feel like they’re closing in on you. From overtaking your ethics and morals to confusing your character, it can be difficult to discern if you’re undergoing typical teenage trials, or something worse.
It may feel as though you’re happier laying your virtues to the wayside. Following the narrow path of good and righteousness is not easy after all. Deciding to do the kind or compassionate thing might not always be the choice you want to make, but it might not always feel like a chore. What if you’re having trouble recognizing the virtuous part of yourself. What if you’ve lost your way?
Understanding and building upon virtuous behaviors is an important part of developing your emotional maturity, but a lot of us forget what these virtues even as we reach adulthood. Here are the seven virtues:
Although it’s incredibly important to understand and recognize each individual one within yourself, all of them combined are needed in the pursuit of spiritual and emotional growth.
1. Patience. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “patience is a virtue”. As you get older, it becomes more and more crucial to endure the difficult circumstances that your life will present. How long can you withstand your hardships before you fall into a pattern of negativity? If you find yourself more inclined to be hasty, or rash instead of meeting your problems head-on with patience, there’s an issue. Choose patience over your own pride. Be patient with those around you, the situations that feel pressing, and with yourself.
2. Kindness. This virtue is incredibly valuable in your daily life. Being kind, and showing compassion to those around you is a mark of a man working toward a more balanced life. Kindness in society is sometimes seen as a negative trait, one that shows weakness and vulnerability. Being gentle, or sensitive in your life should not be met with a certain level of aggression to counter it. Showing kindness is a virtue that leads to greater honesty, loyalty, and respect. All of which are important to keep present in your relationship with yourself and others. What was the last act of true kindness you showed? Do you show this act without expecting anything in return?
3. Humility. The intent of humbling yourself is not to think less of yourself but think of yourself less. Staying humble means recognizing the virtues, talents, abilities, and authority present in others. It’s okay to know how you are, know what you can do for yourself, others, and the world around you and still understand that you cannot do everything alone. Learning how to stay modest and practice humility can help you practice gratitude for all the good things currently in your life.
4. Diligence. As a young man, it’s vital to establish a good work ethic. Work can provide structure to your life, and teach you the value of carefulness and persistence. Earning your keep in life, and taking responsibility for yourself is key to success in adult life. Put effort into whatever you choose to do. Strike a balance between the development of the mental, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of your life. Work diligently to find that balance in whatever you do.
5. Charity. This is a virtue that can unite you with your peers and mentors throughout life. Actively showing and experiencing charity is an extension of your love for your fellow man. Practicing charity allows us to act from a place of love and thankfulness alone, without expecting anything in return.
6. Temperance. Possibly the most important virtue to carry as a young man; temperance is the act of refraining, the practice of moderation and the restraint to not act in ways harmful to yourself or others. Try to respond to situations with forgiveness, humility, modesty, and non-violence as an act of temperance. So too is showing self-control and keeping calm in moments of difficulty. Temperance as a virtue is to know yourself and your vices, and in turn show self-restraint toward them.
7. Chastity. Although this last virtue may seem outdated in comparison to the rest, it is similar to the virtue of temperance. You can view chastity however you like, in it’s most traditional sense, or in another way, keeping your reason, will, and desires in check. Keeping reason at the forefront of your mind, understanding your will, and never allowing your desires to take control of your actions negatively is key.
Use These Virtues and Gain Practical Wisdom
Living with these moral virtues can change your attitude about life, your general disposition, and create healthy habits to carry you through life. In your future actions try and utilize these seven virtues in your conduct. Use the virtues to do good in the end, not just for yourself, but for others as well.