Primary Virtue. Courage.
Courage is summoning strength in the face of life's difficulties or, sometimes, life's horrors. It means proceeding in spite of pain, cost, or risk. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the deliberate decision that action is necessary regardless. Courage acknowledges uncertainty, but perseveres because of conviction and resolve. It offers us focus and self-possession so we can call up our competencies to meet our challenges.
Courage is not necessarily an outward act of heroism; it can be purely internal, such as making the decision to be cheerful in grief, to adhere to values different from those around us, or to give something another try.
Assertiveness means being positive and confident about ourselves-- our ideas, opinions and talents--and expressing these in the service of our values. It means acting on aspirations and exercising abilities,recognizing that each person is expressive and affirmative in a unique way.
Assertiveness is the positive form of aggressiveness. When we are assertive, we have the strength to resist negative or hurtful influences.We think for ourselves, ask for what we need, and speak up to protect our selves and others.
When we practice assertiveness, we practice self-esteem, citizenship, and valor. Though it may not always seem so, to be assertive is to be a blessing in the world.
Boldness is being willing to take risks in the service of what matters. It means being courageous, speaking or acting in the face of possible danger or rebuke. Boldness doesn’t mean lacking fear or anxiety, rather it means pushing past these to do what is right – or what makes your heart sing.
Boldness helps us to translate our values into tangible action. When we are bold, we are willing to risk shame and etiquette for what is right. We dare to publicly fail if need be, and our willingness to risk failure leads at times to exhilarating successes. Clarity about our purpose and passions makes us bold.
Confidence is trust in ourselves: the knowledge, skills, and the value we are able to bring to a situation. True confidence is not bravado. It is lies in genuine knowledge of who we are and is often built on a foundation of hard work. Confidence is infectious, which is why it is a key quality of leadership.
Confidence gives us the courage to act, but sometimes it is bold action, even in the face of fear, that creates confidence.
Detachment means embracing what is, rather than wishing for what is not. When we accept difficult realities, we are able to discover whatever positive feelings and experiences may be possible in that situation. We find ourselves more at peace and able to experience life more deeply. Even so, acceptance must be guided by discernment – learning how to tell the difference between what we can change and what we cannot.
Detachment and acceptance of our faults and the faults of others helps us to be patient and to avoid hurtful kinds of criticism or judgment. By detaching from faults we become more able to trust and celebrate strengths. Paradoxically, detachment often leads to growth because it creates a safe space for insight and understanding.
Faith is the essence of things hoped for. It is a persistent embrace of our highest aspirations and yearnings, a humble trust that they can be or can become reality.
Faith makes us tenacious. It gives us the strength to carry forward with the expectation that our efforts will bear fruit. It is the distant light that shines when all around us seems dark and full of sorrow. Through faith, we keep our eye on our destination rather than on the hardships along the road. Faith give substance to our dreams and our deepest hunches about what is Real and what is Good.
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.