The Edge Pieces: Part Two

Yesterday, we took a look at the first part of the (non-exhaustive) list of virtues my indulgent philosopher husband and I propose as some edge pieces for the puzzle of your Ideal Life.

Today and tomorrow, we are going to continue this overview. Get out your notebook: some of these you might want not agree with, and I am nothing if not open to debate!

Edge Pieces, Part Two:

  1. Friendship: the bond between people which encourages each person to be a better version of themselves.
  2. Frugality: living below our means, making good use of what we possess, as much out of a place of humility as of contentment.
  3. Generosity: a desire to share our resources, belongings, gifts, talents or anything else, with others, either to provide for their needs or simply because it gives us pleasure to do so.
  4. Gentleness: when we are in a place of responsibility or power (however subtle), Gentleness is the benevolence, attitude of tenderness and watchfulness we employ in regards to those in our care.
  5. Godliness: a virtue in which we seek to be perfect according to a religion-specific understanding of the character of God.
  6. Goodness: an attitude of innocence and guilelessness, Goodness is a broad-ranging virtue which, like Wisdom and Peace, can bring the other virtues into sharper focus.
  7. Hospitality: a willingness to open our homes and/or provide for the basic needs of food, shelter and belonging for another person.
  8. Individuality: the unique mix of intelligence, talents, interests, life experience and virtue each one of us has to work with as we forge a path for ourselves in this world; our willingness to embrace who we are, our limitations and our strengths.
  9. Industriousness: the drive to work, to create, to keep busy doing (more or less) useful and productive activities.
  10. Initiative: the enthusiasm, courage and grit to transform an idea into an action.
  11. Integrity: the decision to do what is right, even when it comes at personal cost, is difficult or unpopular.
  12. Joy: an often inexplicable and all-encompassing sense of well-being; very often accompanied by the virtue of Peace. From the outside, it can look like happiness, but I would argue that Joy goes beyond being a passing emotion. Joy is a state of the heart.
  13. Justice: the fervent desire to see wrongs righted; the willingness to take personal risk, at personal cost, in order to make things right.
  14. Kindness: an attitude of benevolence towards others; the prioritizing of someone else’s well-being over our own through often small, insignificant acts. Kindness and Courtesy are very closely linked: Kindness is an attitude, Courtesy is the action that demonstrates the attitude.
  15. Knowledge: the quantity, quality and depth of information we have gained throughout our lives. Knowledge is the fruit of the virtues of Learning, Curiosity and Teachability.
  16. Learning: much like the virtue Curiosity, Learning is the lifelong pursuit of Knowledge about the world around us. Another linked virtue is Teachability, that is, having an open disposition and willingness to learn.
  17. Love: the consistent prioritization of another person over ourselves; the subjugation our own needs to provide for theirs.
  18. Loyalty: the decision to provide support, whether moral or physical, to a person we esteem as deserving of our forbearance.
  19. Lucidity: the ability to weigh our strengths and weaknesses, our availability, our objectives, and to make decisions accordingly.
  20. Memory: the consistent, regular review of past events, in order to not lose sight of the valuable lessons, sacrifices and examples of those who went before us.
  21. Mercy: in a situation where it is within our power to inflict punishment, Mercy is the purposeful withholding and canceling of a deserved chastisement.
  22. Modesty: an outward attitude of humility in which a person avoids garnering attention. (I am very cautious with this one, as the prescriptions and modern understandings of Modesty are often unfairly targeted at women. I forcefully reject the gendering of the virtue of Modesty, as well as using it as a cudgel for “victim blaming”. Modesty is an outward attitude of humility. Period.)

Up next:

Tomorrow we will finish up with this loooooong list of virtues. We’ll take a day to debrief, and then we’ll start nosing around for what it is that makes you sparkle.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

6 thoughts on “The Edge Pieces: Part Two

    1. I hesitated even to include it, because of all the baggage that word carries. But—interestingly enough, I came across a literary agent today who warned against “making immodest comparisons” of our books when querying agents. The word stopped me in my tracks, and made me reconsider how I was querying!

      Liked by 1 person

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