The Virtue-Flaw Continuum
Have you ever noticed how people’s virtues directly link to their flaws? Look closely, and you’ll see that a person’s best trait often goes hand-in-hand with their most annoying. I think one of life’s challenges is to keep our traits balanced so they come off in a positive way.
When we’re out of balance:
- Tenacity becomes stubbornness
- Cleanliness turns OCD
- Concentration becomes aloofness
- Perfectionism turns into procrastination
- Kindness slides into gullibility
- Helpfulness becomes codependence
- Outspokenness becomes opinionated
- Honesty veers into tactlessness
- Politeness turns insincere
Have you noticed any of these virtue-flaws in yourself? (It’s usually easier to see these things in others, at least for me!) Can you think of any more?
My Virtue-Flaw Continuum
Like everyone else, I’ve got my share of virtue-flaws. One that I became aware of this year has to do with self-criticism. This particular virtue-flaw cropped up back in March when, over the space of a week, five different friends told me I was the least judgmental person they knew.
I might not have thought much if only one person said that, but after so much repetition, I decided to ponder the idea. After all, one of the great gifts of friendship is when your pals point out stuff you are too myopic to see in your own life. It’s not all sparkles and unicorns, either. Sometimes what our dearest friends teach us about ourselves can be a bit painful and embarrassing.
This time, though, I was being complimented – and yet I found myself squirming at their words. A part of me wanted to reject their praise, as silly as that seems.
After mulling it over, I realized that my non-judgmental outlook directly connects to my lifelong struggle with self-criticism. A surprising benefit from feeling worthless for so many years is that I have no desire to make others feel that way, nor to pass that kind of judgment on them. So even though my self-esteem is a gazillion times better than it used to be, I have the happy side effect of not being overly judgmental. Even so – as my reluctance to accept their praise revealed – I still yank out a few mental weeds of inner criticism from time to time.
Having this virtue-flaw pointed out helped me realize how far I have come.
Day 3: #Reverb11, #Resound11, #Relish11
Today’s post is my response to Jaemie’s #Resound11 prompt for Day 3, which reads:
“Virtues: Yesterday we got down and dirty and revealed our 2011 vices; today we’ll wipe the slate clean and talk about what personal virtues we discovered in 2011. What good have you done in 2011? Where do you really shine? What have you done that makes you proud of yourself?”
#Reverb11, #Resound11 and #Relish11 are just a few names for a fun end of the year project that mindful bloggers all over the world are participating in. Each day in December, folks choose a prompt from one of several lists then use that as a launchpad to express themselves on their blog. The prompts are especially geared towards reflecting back on 2011 and paving the way towards a better 2012.
Everyone is welcome to join in. If you don’t have a blog, you can respond to the prompts offline through journaling, painting or whatever you feel inspired to do.