Archives for posts with tag: Virtue

Bravery

Today’s gratitude challenge is about Bravery. I began to think of all the common definitions of this term such as valor, courage, and fearlessness. I briefly recalled images of 15th Century Knights in battle. Why? I’m guessing this is the sort of thing we are taught as children. We read epic stories of the hero who must face some sort of danger, or we’ve watched too much television to make a clear determination for the definition. And then I asked myself if the average person can express bravery. I am certain of it; although I’m not exactly sure that some type of fear is not involved; for instance, when I was about to enter the hospital to allow a surgeon to deliver my daughter through cesarean section. I’m sure I wasn’t expressing the courage I hoped to have. Going under the knife was and is a scary prospect for any woman about to birth her first child. Anything can happen. Fortunately, for me, my doctor delivered her without any problems.

If I think back to that day, I was met with all sorts of procedures that would have left anyone frightened. At one point, I had to hold as still as possible, so that the spinal injection was completed accurately. Okay, but I couldn’t control the one performing the action. I’m sure my mind was conjecturing all sorts of woes had I moved or the needle suddenly slipped.

Later, as a mother, I faced many possible dangers. Raising a child is terrifying. Does that make me a brave person? I’m not so sure. What is brave is stepping up and fulfilling the role of a mother – working tirelessly to keep the child comfortable and secure. These are strategies that we are not taught. I fumbled my way through it all. Bravery is like that. We expand ourselves to do what is needed.

I’m not necessarily only speaking of motherhood. Many people face different types of demons every day – usually internal ones. We surmise what others might think of us. This fear can be paralyzing. Some of us would rather expire than to plunge into the fear that our thoughts create and keep us weak. Talk to people in sales who will explain the hours wasted because they could not pick up a telephone to call a prospective client. That fear of rejection runs deep.

Most don’t even think about the dangers around us. Starting a motor vehicle and driving in rush hour traffic takes bravery. What about beginning a new job? It takes a certain type of bravery to overcome new tasks and learn new names. Natural disasters seem commonplace these days. The news broadcasts are quick to show the devastating live footage.

How does one go about mustering up courage in times like these? Adrenaline might be one answer. Try these ideas instead:

* Aim to build up confidence by doing things that make you uncomfortable without any immediate danger
* Hone your skills in certain areas to help you do something you like, and do it well
* Believe in yourself – an area where we tend to demonstrate a deep, cavernous lack

And mostly, believe in yourself. Chances are, others believe in you and your abilities. It’s not hype.
Negative self-talk is detrimental to your well-being in all cases. Thank goodness we are not our thoughts.

Have faith; bravery is not elusive. You might surprise yourself someday. When you do, write it down. Tell some friends, and pat yourself on the back while you get ready to do more. Reward yourself if you need to.

These tactics will help build some resilient muscles.

My wish is that you become the best version of you.

Joy,

Cheryl


Benevolence.

Something wonderful happens when we give from the heart. True monetary philanthropists give freely in exchange for an experience in helping others achieve their financial goals. But not everyone has extra money lying around. Even so, we can give freely what we do possess: A smile will warm someone’s heart. A good thought or an offer of blessings helps the giver feel a gratitude that seems to transcend throughout the universe. A hug can be received and given since human touch is a necessity for each of us. Share a laugh by telling a good joke. Perhaps you can offer a service of some kind like walking a dog or providing a nutritious meal to an ill neighbor. A merciful act toward someone in debt to you for a favor or monetary transaction releases the bondage debt creates.

Whatever we can do without looking for reward is benevolence. Aren’t you grateful for people like this in your life? Sometimes, even a random act of kindness to a stranger will brighten the giver’s and the receiver’s day.

Pay it forward with random actions of kindness. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line, or offer to pay for someone’s groceries. You never know who might need your offering that day. Have you ever been the recipient of such a kind, unexpected gift? I hope you have. The experience can be most humbling, yet inspiring. Gifts come in all types of packages; they don’t have to cost much at all, they just need to come from the heart. Make someone’s day by showing some gratitude for the things you possess and sharing them with another.

Joy,

Cheryl

Accountability_wordle
Accountability.

Today’s Virtue is Accountability. For any challenge or self-improvement one undertakes, it is best to be held accountable to stay on track. Yesterday’s first post for my Gratitude Challenge: Using the Virtues started with Acceptance. When we are held accountable, we achieve much more than we expected. It forces us to drum up our essence, the excellence within, that we might pay less attention to when we think no one is watching. Many challenges I’ve participated in require a partner to ensure my goals are met. Much of the time, the community built around the challenges provide an equal push. I am grateful for all who share the same path during the challenges, especially the accountability partners. To ensure actions are completed, each of us must admit whether or not we have done the work. No fudging the truth; sometimes I must explain my actions, or lack of action during the challenges.

Each of us is accountable for what we do in life – it’s one of the more strict virtues in the list. It suggests that we are weak and tend to shirk responsibility. Ouch. I’ll admit to having let a goal or two dissolve during my lifetime. I don’t always fill the shoes I intend to fill. This blog might be one of them. Sometimes we can justify it by calling it choice. When I choose to write, I will. Or I might say that I need some inspiration to write. Well, where does that inspiration come from? It depends on what I want to achieve. What about setting goals to lose weight or write that book? It might be difficult to be inspired to live out a dream.

I am reminded of a poem by Langston Hughes, called “Harlem.” The first line asks the very question many of us ask, “What happens to a dream deferred?” Because this line is so famous, most people think the title should match. Without a community built around the same goals, we end up in the same place we started – with a dream without action.

For major goals in life, seeking out someone to partner with is extremely helpful. I’ve gone through some strict detoxes over the past couple of years. Without others who inspire me to make sure I’m drinking my green smoothie or walking 10,000 steps each day, the tasks seem too hard to accomplish on my own. A cheerleader on my side is a blessing. I feel stronger than ever to maintain my convictions for healthy living.

Does this mean that we cannot be accountable on our own? No. Not at all. Sometimes the goal is enough. Many people are certain that as long as we know why we want to achieve some major change, we will do it based on a strong will and determination. Thank goodness, perseverance is instilled in all of us at birth. We have heard about the many who have achieved great things. We are no different.

I am thankful to find the wonderful people in my networks who help me to be my best even when I don’t feel up to it. Be accountable; practice making it a habit. Find an accountability partner to ensure you meet your goals. In return, be an accountability partner who helps another achieve a goal.

Joy,
Cheryl

Boldly get on with your life.

Assertiveness is the virtue I am grateful for today. Do you know people who display a bold confidence in their behaviors or when they speak? They exude a confidence that is strikingly different than some of us. This virtue has a sister; it’s called ambition. When we are assertive, we possess a strong desire to accomplish our goals. No self-defeating actions exist for an assertive person.

Sometimes we need assertiveness in sales. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about product sales; we often need to sell ourselves first, especially if we are looking for work, being careful not to sound pushy. When I applied as a transfer student to D’Youville college, I showed my ambitious and assertive self. I knew what I wanted and had the audacity to tell the department chair my plans to withdraw my application if the college did not accept all my credits without condition. I was not unpleasant toward the person behind the desk; I just knew that my GPA was high enough to qualify, and felt much confidence in my accomplishments. Instead of complying to their conditions, I indicated my own. Needless to say, other professors heard about my interview and knew who I was before I attended any classes. One of these fine professionals was Bob Nielsen, whom I dedicated this blog.

Confidence is what makes the difference. If I had not asserted myself and my intentions, I might not have met all the wonderful people who later became my mentors. Confidence changes circumstances. Confidence changes us. Quite often, I look back and think that exuberance is needed in every aspect of life. It helps us to push boundaries and to step out of our comfort zones.
We cannot allow the negative stories in our minds, or our fears, to keep us from doing what we want – whether it be applying for a new job, talking to someone attractive, or asking for what we need or want out of life. So many times, we think things won’t work for us. How would we know until we try? Of course, my interview might not have gone the way I’d hoped it would, but I had to be less concerned about the outcome. I had to be myself. Sometimes I miss being a young girl when I had less fears. Perhaps, back then, I thought less of what people might think of me than I do now. When did my attitude change? When did I let this virtue escape me?

I think it’s time to recapture some of that confidence and assertiveness.

• Define the fear that holds you back
• Determine your desires
• Demonstrate your willingness to forget what others might think of you

I am grateful that assertiveness is never lost; they act quite like muscles. You’d need to work on them to build them up; but they never disappear, even after years of neglect.
Find and build your confidence today.

Joy,
Cheryl

A = Acceptance – okay, it stands for apple, but I’m having some fun.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been learning about how to manage my inner game and found that my attitude greatly impacts my gratitude toward the things in my life. I wake up less grumpy if the first words or thoughts are ‘thank you.’ I’m a firm believer in sending my intentions into the universe without any type of plan or expectation for the outcome. And sometimes, I must accept how I behave and my current circumstances in order to change.

I decided to challenge myself by posting about one Virtue a day. It seems a daunting task, as there are many virtues which promote moral excellence. I thought about using the A – Z method, but some letters would be missing. Bear with me while I aim to capture the essence of as many virtues as possible into posts that add usefulness and beauty to the world.

Today begins with the virtue, Acceptance.

A while back, I posted about acceptance when I spoke of the lessons I learned from my dog. More recently, conversations with my friends have revealed even more about what acceptance really does for us and others.

Acceptance

● Helps us recognize the talent in other people and builds tolerance: When we recognize the talents in other people, we accept them without challenge. Having tolerance frees us from judgment, especially when we place our beliefs and expectations on others. Chances are, people will not live up, so we must not allow ourselves to push people away for their differences.

● Allows us to love one another at the deepest levels. All of us are searching for love in some form or another: love of our country, our fellow man, or in intimate relationships. Acceptance means to be completely willing to wonder at and breathe in another’s existence. Forgive the petty faults we tend to find in others. They are of no matter. If we can do this for everyone we meet, imagine the reciprocity.

● Defaults to self-love. Acceptance lets me love myself and who I have become over the years despite my perceived failures or imperfections. I must recognize my differences as assets, not faults. Without a doubt, self-love is the ultimate achievement.

Let’s aim to accept and love ourselves, so we can love others with complete acceptance.

Joy,
Cheryl

A few years ago, I learned a valuable virtue from my dog.
Yes, I’ve heard of all the wonderful praises dogs receive from their owners, etc. We can learn patience from them simply because they’re patient with us. Dogs don’t criticize, nor do they judge us. Probably the best quality they have is the ability to love us just the way we are, despite how we see ourselves. Many jokes are shared across the Internet describing this very sentiment:
Don’t you wish you were as great as your dog thinks you are? – Honestly, you are probably pretty great, but you may not accept yourself for who you are. Self-help books aim to help us accept the way we look or behave so we can improve. They may also help to accept the reality of certain situations, especially those which are negative or undesirable. In the process of doing so we find a healthier outlook and hopefully happiness rather than trying to resist or change things.

The common definition for acceptance would be to receive that which has been given to us.

We can look at it as accepting a gift from another: a common event, yes. And very simple. But if poor vision, the loss of a loved one, giftedness, or riches prevail in your life, you must accept that reality, good or not good. And, of course, pleasant things are the easiest to accept.

To be truly accepting is to accept another’s personality traits as you would your own.

With all the different temperaments people possess, it’s often difficult to get along with those we find abrasive.

This is precisely where my metaphor comes in handy to help us realize people have their own bents and habits just like we do.

One day while playing catch with my dog, she stopped to do what dogs sometimes do. She had been running around off the leash somewhere in the acres of land in the back property. Usually she picked up on the scent of something dead and rolled in it, probably so she’d go undetected while she hunted unsuspecting prey. Other times she’d eat the dead, partially eaten animals left in the field by coyotes. At least three times that I can remember, she was skunked because she just couldn’t leave those fluffy waddling skunks alone. She also would run through the house with muddy paws if I wasn’t fast enough to catch her first.
This particular day, to my dismay, she began to cough and throw up some slimy, disgusting particles she obviously could not digest. The worst part is when she proceeds to lick it back up.
If I weren’t there to stop her, she would do just as she pleased like any other time I wasn’t present. Who am I to change her nature?

Now, while this is graphic to an extent, it’s important to understand my metaphor for what it is. I’m not saying people are this disgusting in their behaviors. Not at all. But the next time your spouse doesn’t put the seat down, forgets to put the toothpaste cap back on, or something else despite how often a request has been made, think of this:

I was so grossed out by my dog’s behavior, I caught myself telling her to stop doing what she does. Basically, I yelled at her for being a dog.
What? Yes. I did. Ha ha. Like that would stop her. She was a dog after all.

You see, I cannot stop her for being what she is as much as you can’t stop people for being who they are by nature. Acceptance is a virtue because it allows us to see people as they are and receive any oddities they possess as favorable and thus approve of those oddities. Just because others do things we would not do, doesn’t mean we need to change them. The only person you can change is you. Practice approving others. You may find a core trait that at first seemed odd, but in fact is the trait that makes that person unique.

As far as my pooch goes, now that she’s gone, among other awesome things I miss about her, I also miss the muddy paw prints she’d leave on the carpeting: a sign of life and vibrance.

Joy,
Cheryl