Aristotle wrote, "We are what we repeatedly do.
What are you doing repeatedly that is bringing you and others peace and happiness? What are you doing repeatedly that is causing you or others pain? These are very important questions. They have the potential to be life transforming if you are taking action on doing more of what creates the outcomes you desire.
Are you living a virtuous life? Virtues are defined as "behavioral habits - something that is exhibited fairly consistently. You exhibit virtues in the way you act daily, without much thinking.
What virtues are important to you? For me, in my book, Create Your Legacy, I share examples of Love, Generosity, Gratitude and Compassion because these are virtues that were taught to me by my parents and are still important to me today. I try to make a conscious effort to live my life by taking action on these virtues often.
For example, to live with love, I can simply take the hand of someone I love and say, "I love so many things about you. One thing I really love is the fact that you are honest with me; even when, it is not easy."
Generosity was the domain of the rich or elite nobility for a long time. This definition has changed in the last 200 years to include everyone. The virtue of generosity involves giving unselfishly to help others without expecting anything in return, not even acknowledgement or appreciation.
We can offer a smile, teach what others need to know, lend a helping hand, encourage with our words, listen, give our time, send thank you notes, give a gift card, share coupons, and call and offer to sit with someone at a shelter, mission, hospice or a nursing home.
To live with generosity, I could put $5 dollars in my pocket and look for an opportunity to give it to someone in need or to buy a small token, such as a meal, for someone.
Cicero, in Ancient Roman times, believed that gratitude was the "parent of all the other virtues." Gratitude is the feeling and attitude of appreciation for the benefits that we have received or expect to receive.
We can make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner, child, coworker or friend something we appreciate every day. To live with gratitude, I could buy a flower to give to someone who has been kind to me in the past month. I could express exactly what I am grateful for concerning that person. For example, I could say, "Thank you so much for telling me about that sale. I saved 70% off what I would usually pay for that item."
Activating the virtue of compassion is what establishes it as the cornerstone of positive social interconnection and humanism. The reward, of treating ourselves and others with compassion is that we feel contented in our hearts knowing that we are helping humanity evolve to greater peace and harmony.
To live with compassion, I could be open to encountering someone in physical or emotional pain and asking, "What are you saying to yourself about the pain?" Then, I could encourage that person to release any negative thoughts surrounding the pain and let the person know that he/she is not alone in pain. That I too, have experienced great pain.
Aristotle wrote, "We are what we repeatedly do. Take a moment today and think about what you are repeatedly doing. Are you living a virtuous life? Are you repeatedly choosing for yourself or others peace, happiness or pain?