Okay, so this is not strictly A&S related, but as this is a personal growth blog I'm sticking it here anyway. This forms a huge part of my philosophy and world view. You could call this my "credo."
As we get older, I think there's a tendency to kind of stop thinking about what we do and who we are as something which is changeable. There's a lot of research out there that suggests your personality is pretty much fixed at a very young age!
That might be true, but there are many things and aspects of my life which I am always trying to improve. There are many personality traits I'd really like to grow out of, and others that I'd really like to grow into. I am surrounded by people who I really admire with many traits I hope I can acquire as I get older and more mature.
I find that it can sometimes be a bit helpful to meditate on virtues, and how they might be better expressed in my life. I think self-reflection is pretty important. I think of these very often and consider them guiding principles.
One day, I'd really like to embroider the seven heavenly virtues onto something I can take with me everywhere I go (like a token or something) so I can remember them all the time.
Castitas - Purity of thought and action; avoidance of drunkenness or other mind-altering substances which would affect one's ability to act virtuously; faithfulness to marriage, family and friends in word, thought and deed; resistance to temptation, vindictiveness, or gossip
Temperantia - Restraint and temperance; avoidance of gluttony or over-indulgence; careful consideration of one's surroundings and the needs of others before speaking or giving advice; balancing one's own needs and the needs of others
Caritas - Generosity, charity, and self-sacrifice; unconditional (agape) love for the rest of humanity
Industria - Persistence, honesty, and diligence in one's chosen work; guarding one's self against laziness, dishonesty, misrepresentation or shoddy workmanship
Patientia - Endurance with grace, patience, and dignity; not taking out one's misfortunes or pains on others; working towards sentiments of peace, harmony and mutual respect, rather than sowing seeds of distrust and unkindness; showing boundless forgiveness and mercy and always leaving room for a chance to start over
Benevolentia - Compassion and kindness without seeking reward or personal gain; keeping a positive outlook and encouraging others; genuine good will and happiness for the successes of others, even when they come into conflict with your own desires
Humilitas - Modesty in speech, thought, action, and dress; ungrudging acceptance of thankless or unnoticed tasks; suspicion towards yourself and your own motives and charity towards those who may disagree with you; giving credit where credit is due and not accepting undue praise or attention; refraining from despair or anger which is based on the ego; respect and deference for the wisdom and experience of others
There's one more virtue which I really like to reflect on and strive for constantly, but which isn't really mentioned in the big lists most of the time.
That virtue is Gentleness. I think it's a really great expression of many of the other virtues and how they can be applied in the way we deal with other people. This is the virtue which I most associate with people who I consider role models in my life.
Gentleness - Doing the most good with the least harm to others; approaching others with love and openness, with a will to understand rather than to judge or rebuke. Courage without violence, strength without unkindness, and love without anger. A constant strength born from calm, serene patience, rather than the violent turmoil of anger or indignation.
So anyway, there you go!