A catalog of virtues

I buckled down and did my best to list my faults here: A catalog of faults. Now I get the pleasure of trying to list what I think are my greatest virtues. I find that often virtues and faults are interrelated. A fault may well develop a virtue, or, in reverse, a virtue may sometimes result in some fault. I tried to stick to personal qualities rather than skills or abilities which I find are somewhat transitory and relative.

Love of Self

I think I’m a great person. Not the greatest person, but great enough to stand out as exceptional in many respects. This is one of those virtues that certainly has a dark side in the form of ego and overconfidence, but also think it is the source of my courage and my kindness. I think we all see the world somewhat through a lens of how we view ourselves. Because I love myself, I think others are also deserving of love. Because I am self-confident I don’t need to fear others and can easily give trust and aid. Most of all, it makes me happy and content which to me is much of what makes life good and worthwhile.

Love for Others / Trusting

I really like other people. I can find something I like about nearly anyone. Even when it is easy to find faults, when I think of the person I most often think of their virtues. I really want other people to be happy and fulfilled and when I am being mindful of they I will try to make them feel good. This is tempered somewhat by an “out of sight, out of mind” quality. I only sometimes think of people who are not at hand and, as a result, can be less considerate than I might wish to be or seem very distant and uninvolved. On the other hand, I tend to be unexpectedly kind and considerate of people I only barely know.

Forgiving / Tolerant

It kind of goes with liking and trusting other people but I find it fairly easy to both forgive people for being unkind and tolerating their faults. While I can get riled up pretty easily, I am pretty good at keeping a lid on that feeling and it usually fades very quickly with time and reflection. I am very fast in defending myself, but I rarely take it as a sign of serious enmity when I am attacked so I don’t hold a grudge so long as the attack doesn’t continue. When I do encounter a person who seems bent on giving me grief, my usual reaction is to just cut them out of my daily life as much as possible rather than take revenge or demand justice.

Confident

While I listed overconfidence as one of my faults in an earlier post, I think some level of confidence is definitely helpful in life. I think it would be wrong to call me a brave person, though some have called me that. In truth, I just have less fear and anxiety than many people do about a good many things. And when I do have feats, they feel relatively small and easy to set aside when there are things that have to get done. Whatever my anxieties, I tend to know what I am or am not capable of and thus can tackle challenges without a lot of worry for failure. If I have to deal with something beyond my ability, I don’t fear it, I simply find some other way to deal with the situation.

Wisdom

Can a wise man say he is wise or is the only wisdom in knowing you lack it? It’s something of a catch 22. I think the truth lies in that there is always more to learn and gaining wisdom is a never ending process. It requires a willingness and desire to forever learn more. I tend to think my wisdom is most evident in having lived a good and happy life with very few regrets or complaints. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I learn from them and live with them largely in peace.

Earnest

I tend to say what I think and think what I say most of the time. I don’t generally put on airs or try to be something that is not in my heart. When I feel bad I let folks know and when I feel good likewise. I pretty much never have any double meaning in what I say or hidden agenda in what I do. A lack of fear and a trust of others makes that possible. The older I’ve gotten the more earnest and honest I have become. I think a large part of that is overcoming the fears I had when I was young. When you are afraid, you protect yourself with a facade of one kind or another. When you become self-confident you let those fall away and let the truth be your shield instead of deception.

Good Genetics

Some virtues have little to do with your personality. I feel like I hit some kind of genetic jackpot. I’ve lived more than 40 years with very few health issues except those due to some foolish behavior on my part. I rarely get sick, and only very rarely ever need to visit a doctor. Despite no real effort on my part, I am large and strong and fairly handsome. The only think I keep in my medicine cabinet is some ibuprofen and some dandruff shampoo.

Charisma

Charisma is a hard thing to put your finger on and I think it is a blend of many different qualities that comprise it. I am not charismatic by default, it is to a degree something I “turn on” or work at when I want to maximize it. Or in some respect’s its something I keep reserved and then unleash when desired. I think the heart of it is connecting with people on an emotional level. It requires being expressive in words, manner, and countenance such that people feel what you are feeling. Even better is when you help them feel what they want to feel.

Eloquence / Communication Skills

I think this is a skill / trait that is part of my charisma. I am good at conveying information through language, speech, mannerism, and so on. I typically understand what I am trying to communicate and know how to get the message across. Not perfectly, of course, I make mistakes, but it comes naturally and easy both when speaking and writing. My brain seems very good at collecting the tools of communication and then sorting out how best to use them such that it takes very little conscious thought.

Learning and Analyzing

My brain often feels like a cloud of connections. Every thought and idea is tied to thousands of others like a spider’s web, and when one thread is plucked a great many others respond. So long as I have some reference point for new information I can quickly organize and file it away such that it fits into place with all the other threads. Then I can dig through those connections coming to new realizations and conclusions. While it takes a lot of mental energy, it is a pleasing process and sensation, probably the reason I so enjoy strategy and role-playing games and am generally very good at them.

Flexible Perspective

I have the ability to see the world from a lot of different perspectives, almost as if I am somewhat detached from my own ego and identity at times. As an actor, storyteller, or analyst, I have the ability to think like someone other than myself, to create a set of imaginary rules or perceptions I can follow with very little deliberate effort. It’s easy for me to imagine that things that are imaginary are real or that real things are imaginary. It is limited by what I know so my ability to get into a real person’s perspective is limited to what I rightly understand about them. Often when arguing I can take both sides and see both virtue and fault in both sides as where I observe it is often difficult for others to do so.

Chill / Calm

I’ve had some friends that see me as kind of emotionless or unflappable and there is some truth to that. While I understand and feel the usual range of emotions, they don’t “stick” to me nor do they seem as overwhelming to me as they do to many other people I have known. I find it pretty easy to face fears, soothe anger, and cheer depression that I feel. This is especially true when I can simply distract myself from the source of the emotion. An hour with a good TV show or game and I can forget nearly any problem for a while. The flip side is I don’t seem to get the depths of joy and pleasure other people do. Fortunately, a general sense of contentment suits me just fine.

Big / Strong

I’ve clearly got some kind of Viking blood in me. Despite a near total disdain for exercising and physical exertion, I’m big like an Ox and generally very strong. As a result, I rarely get hassled or threatened when on my own and folks instinctively pay me a certain amount of respect. I can also lift heavy things and break stuff when called upon. All that gives me a sense of confidence that I think is no small part of why I lost many of the fears I had when I was young and generally small for my age.

Summation

To a degree, these posts on faults and virtues are exercises in self-reflection, part of my personal inner journey as Anne and I make a journey across America. Partly my ego compels me to catalog and share who I am in various ways. If you actually read this article, my thanks. If you have your own take on what my strengths are, or my weaknesses, I’m glad to hear of them.

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