I Quixed Faith Goodbye

Seven Virtues

When reading a blog post by the psychologist and former evangelical Valerie Tarico I came upon her creation Wisdom Commons, a place to “explore, elevate, and celebrate our shared moral core.” As you may know like Valerie I am also a deconvert, a former evangelical, and in the absence of my faith tradition I’ve asked myself:

What do I believe? 

But the more important question I’ve come to realize is:

What do I value? 

Valerie’s website helped me to identify what virtues are important to me. I expect them in myself and am attracted to them in others. If I lose sight of them I feel not right, off, and gross about myself. When I see them in myself and others I feel peace, hope, and joy.

On the website you can create your own wisdom page and can share your bits of wisdom with quotes, poetry, fables, proverbs, videos, pictures, etc. Additionally, you are asked to rank your top seven virtues out of many (I’m going to ballpark and say 100?) virtues.

I’m curious to know:

What are YOUR top seven virtues? 

If picking seven is too much work, what one or two virtue(s) jump out of you right away and speak to you? I’d love to know so that I can get to know you better.

Here are mine in order. They’ve always been with me, as a Christian and now as an agnostic atheist:

  1. Growth
  2. Insight
  3. Kindness
  4. Curiosity
  5. Love
  6. Truth-Seeking
  7. Humor

Here are descriptions of each one:

Growth

“Growth means we are constantly transforming. Even though the change may be almost imperceptible, our mental state, skills, and ways of acting in the world are becoming more and more aligned with our goals.

When we value growth, we are open and curious, and we appreciate constructive feedback even if it is awkward or painful to us. We recognize our imperfections, but work to forgive them and to move on. We seek to understand ourselves and others because understanding gives us choices. As we move through our day to day activities, we ask ourselves how those activities serve our dreams, our mission, or our sense of what matters most.”

Insight

“Insight is the ability to grasp the key elements of a complex subject, person or situation. Insight can be focused internally as an honest awareness of our own feelings and motivations or externally as an understanding of what is true and important in the world around us.

Insight may be partly a function of reasoning skills, but it also grows out of a patient process of introspection, contemplation, or study. A wise friend or counselor can act as a mirror, reflecting back our fragments of insight and adding their own so that we can see the whole.”

Kindness

“Kindness means that we recognize that others are fragile–that we have the power to hurt or heal them–and we choose to be healers. When we are kind, we don’t take advantage of our power or of other people’s vulnerabilities. Instead, we seek to comfort, encourage and strengthen those around us.

To be kind requires empathy: we must consciously attune ourselves to the life experience of another being to know what will feel good for them. Kindness builds confidence, because it lets us see others in all of their complicated, needy humanity, rather than putting them on pedestals.

Kindness does not ask whether it will be repaid. Even so, our kindness often ripples through the world around us; it invites others to be kind in turn.”

Curiosity

“Curiosity is a hunger to explore and a delight in discovery. When we are curious, we approach the world with a child-like habit of poking and prodding and asking questions. We are attracted to new experiences. Rather than pursuing an agenda or a desired set of answers, we follow our questions where they lead.

Socially, curiosity lets us really listen to other people because we want to know who they are. We open ourselves to the morsels of knowledge and experience they can share with us. We relish having discoveries of our own to share.

Curiosity makes us interested in a broad range of information about the world around us, not only that with direct utility. We learn for the joy of learning.”

Love

“Love is valuing the joy and pain of another being like we value our own. We instinctively seek our own happiness and take action to relieve our own discomfort; love makes us instinctively do the same for others.

Love is not merely service (action) nor is it merely delight in the beloved (infatuation), though it can express itself in both of these. Loving someone means being able to choose what is best for them over what is best for us. Desire and possessiveness are false love because in both the focus is on us–our needs and wants. Sometimes love means letting go.

Love makes life rich by making us part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Truth-Seeking

“To speak truth, we must seek truth. Truth-seeking requires persistence and humility. When we seek truth in any form, we are seeking to understand some small aspect of the Reality that created and encompasses us all. A commitment to truth-seeking will sometimes takes us outside our comfort zone, obliging us to admit things we would rather deny or calling us to difficult action.

Truth-seeking requires that we grow beyond a sense of shame at discovering ourselves mistaken. We strive to replace this with acceptance or even pleasure that we can grow and that others can outgrow us. It means being willing to subsume our opinions and preferences to a higher calling. Our yearning for truth must exceed our yearning to prove ourselves right, if reality is to guide our action, compassion and love.”

Humor

“Humor is the ability to laugh at ourselves – to brighten any situation or conversation by finding the light, quirky dimensions. Humor helps us to forgive or to admit our own errors. It diffuses conflict. It makes hard times less heavy. When we cultivate humor, we are letting go of other emotions: bitterness, resentment, or anger.

Like nothing else can, humor allows us see things in a new light: the foolishness of our preoccupations, our hypocrisies and inconsistencies, our tendency to see ourselves as the center of the universe. Used wrongly humor can be cruel or distancing. But in the service of other virtues, humor brings us together and helps us grow.”

So tell me:

What virtues are important to YOU?

~Q

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20 thoughts on “Seven Virtues

  1. This is really interesting and near impossible to rank! I confused myself when I started reading the definitions so I decided to go with my instinct.
    1. Kindness 2. Respect 3. Growth 4. Responsibility 5. Wisdom 6. Truth-seeking 7. Humility.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, I might take out humility and put in integrity. I have given this way too much thought today! It’s been playing on my mind. I don’t like ranking these things as many I value equally. I’m over thinking this. I’ll stop writing now… slowly backs out of room

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL. Don’t back out of the room! Your thoughts are welcome here. I agree with you that it’s hard to rank. I just went with my gut and ran with it, I’m sure my 7 will change day-by-day. In fact, now I’m wondering why I didn’t put humility and integrity on MY list. Oh well. I did find it helpful to figure out what is important to me regardless. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no clue. I wish there was a quiz that would tell me mine. How do I decide?
    I think in some ways is a bit like that love language stuff. I’ve never been able to figure myself out worth that either. Others yes – sort of – some times. But never myself.
    I look at the list of virtues and my brain just does not comput.

    Like

    1. Ok. So I’ve had another look. Rationality and discernment stand out. But maybe that’s just because I strive for those or is that the point?
      Well anyway. You’ve helped turn my brain on for the day. Lol. This will give me something (more) to ponder while I’m making 100 cupcakes.

      Like

      1. Yes, I think that’s the point. I kind of just went by my gut, though today I’m eyeballing many other traits and wondering why I didn’t list them in my top 7! It’s so hard to choose.

        I’m glad I turned your brain and I can definitely say I see rationality and discernment as qualities you value. That’s very “you.”

        How did the cupcake making go? Will I get to see a picture? Will you share (yeah, I know you actually can’t ;-))

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 🙂 I’d share if i could.
          It’s after 1 am here atm. I’ve crawled into bed (but had a feeling you’d be checking in here soon – which tippy were – so popped on here to get a pre sleep Q fix)… 100 cup cakes made, now i need to ice them fancy by 4pm tomorrow.
          I’m such a procrastinator! That mixed with an in-ability to say ‘sorry, no’… :/

          I’ll see about a picture.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Aww. A pre-sleep Q fix ❤

            Yes, send me a pic. But only if you are not totally stressed by making and icing 100 cupcakes (I’d be!). What color/flavor are they?

            Btw, go to bed! Quixie’s orders 😉

            Liked by 1 person

    2. I have to say the 5 Love Languages have always driven me nuts. Every time I’d take that quiz I’d get something different. I think what made it difficult is that I didn’t often feel loved so I had nothing to judge by. However, there are a couple of times I HAVE felt loved and it’s been when someone makes, writes, or gives me something that shows that they really know me. What love language is that – intimate gift giving? I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm. Yeah receiving gifts.
        I tried to work out my son’s but have no clue. I think he likes quality time. Thing is it drives me crazy listening to him. 😦
        Different if we could have a conversation or discussion. But that doesn’t meet his need….

        Like

        1. My kids want quality time too. It drives me nuts. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to spend time with them, I just typically want to be alone. I’m happy being alone on my phone, or reading, or watching Netflix or going for a walk. In fact I feed off it. When I’m with my kids (who want my full attention) I get drained FAST. It makes me feel really guilty.

          Like you, I don’t mind, and actually enjoy quality conversation, however my daughter wants to talk science (which is way over my head – I’m learning but she is waaay smarter than me) and my son wants to talk about Pokemon (which I couldn’t care less about).

          What kind of quality time stuff do you think your son likes?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. He wants to tell me all about his games and gaming. He wants me to watch him play. He wants me to play – which is enjoy doing… if he wasn’t there watching. I want to listen and be engaged because I know he likes it so much. I don’t know if it is because I’m so empty I just have nothing to give.
            I work so hard to keep my voice pleasant and even when he comes out of his gaming room to tell me the latest thing but he’s a kid … they pick up on these things. I don’t want to crush him.
            The hardest thing is when I’ve been at work all day and I come in and all he wants to do is talk talk talk…. what game he wants, how’s it’s so close to bloody christmas, how he found a glitch in a game and he’s going to share the news with everyone. How he doesn’t know which game he wants because of he gets one game he will want the other game and which would I prefer… to get him a game with more playability or that was more interesting. And christmas is only so many days away. Oh and have I seen this trailer and have I made up my mind about if he can watch a certian movie. And then he walks out with the laptop shoves it under my nose and insists I watch this that or the other…. and if I sigh he gets so upset. And christmas is so very close don’t you know. And I have mentioned the headset… the gaming chair… and all about this stream or that twitch and this person and how they are rich from just doing these things. And then i hear about the latest game the stream is on or what some twitch thing is doing. I have makes of people I don’t know floating in my head… PewDiePie, JackSepticEye- real name is shaun- got his name after an accident caused an injury to become septic, JohnSandman, LightningVeins – lives in Israel and has gone because he had to do his year of service, oh gosh I’ve forgotten a few. I’m sure I know details of others I just can’t put the detail with the name (and I’m sure you find it add interesting as me). But see, at the moment these people are his friends. And quite possibly will be for however long. He sits up there and talks to them, my boy who hasn’t been out socially in months except when I’ve forced him and he’s just sat in a dark corner. He’s being social. He’s communicating. I should be interested, just as I’d be interested in his personal friends in real life.
            Sorry this is becoming long and sad.
            It’s amazing how we are all wired so differently. I just wish it could happen that the people in our lives are there to fill each other to keep us all balanced. I look around and see people missing that filling and I see others overflowing. I don’t know why people can’t return good deeds and favors. This is going to sound incredibly selfish! But if I recieved back even half of what I give I’d start to not feel so drained. And it isn’t so simple (although maybe it is… I just couldn’t do it) as to tell people what it is I need. People don’t tell me what they need I see it and do it. If I told someone I needed a meal made for me it defeats the purpose. Not to mention the energy it would take to actually tell them… I might as well of made the meal myself. A little note of encouragement… a coffee and chat (conversation and discussion)
            On the flip side I hate receiving so it’s kinda tricky. If I were to recieve a meal or a note I’d be so mortified.

            Ok leaving it there.
            Its 730am I’ve been awake since 6 after a rough night so going to try and go back to sleep before getting a start on the decorationof the cup cakes. I need to be started by … I’m going to say 930… so will probably start at 1030 lol.

            I hope you’ve had a good day Q!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. How’d it go with the decorations?

            Regarding your son’s interests, your examples remind me very much of my son. He’s always playing video games and, with a few exceptions, they bore me to tears. When he talks about his games I’m surprised he doesn’t see my eyes gloss over, giving them a blank look. I don’t know, maybe he does notice.

            A few times he’s tried to include me but he has zero patience with my inability to pick up on the games as fast as he can. For example, he got really frustrated with me when he taught me Minecraft and all I wanted to do was dig tunnels and plant flowers everywhere. LOL. But it’s what interested me about the game!

            I’m glad to hear your son has online friends. As you know online friends can be great 😉 ❤ You say you should be interested, but it makes perfect sense from your description why you’re not: you are drained. And if everyone is taking and not giving (as it sounds like they are) no wonder you are drained.

            After I read your comment I thought about how I used to feel drained but why I do not now and I tried to think of what has changed. Here’s what I’m doing differently. It may or may not help you so if it doesn’t just ignore.

            I no longer let guilt rule me. It was a decision I made and it happened simultaneously with my deconversion.I’ve worked consciously since then not to “should” myself. It’s hard, but I’m seeing progress.
            I’ve learned to say no. And without guilt (see #1). I say no a lot more than I say yes. Okay, so I don’t have this perfected but I’m learning to expect more from others for them to be able to take care of their own needs. It’s different when you have kids since you are responsible for them, but there are still compromises there to be made.
            I’ve learned to be “selfish.” This involves self-care (resting when tired, doing things I enjoy even if other people have to wait, saving and spending money on myself, etc). It also involves say no (see #2). I generally don’t do anything unless I want to. OR if things are necessary I make sure that I’ve taken care of myself enough to have energy to take care of things. It sounds selfish, but it actually has the benefit of my having the energy to take care of others. I like the metaphor of the oxygen mask on an airplane: they tell you to put on your own mask before you can help others. Otherwise, you’ll both pass out from the lack of oxygen.

            JJ, you deserve some reciprocity for your good deeds! And part of that may include you stating when you have needs and not feeling selfish for it. I know that’s easy to say, hard to do.

            Thanks for sharing this. Your sharing always fills up my cup. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

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