Make a card holder using two paper plates. Decorate it. It will be used to store virtue cards. Using the virtue list provided write one virtue on the front of a note card, and define the virtue on the back of it. Do this for the following virtues: patience, kindness, thankfulness, humility, perseverance, forgiveness, and encouragement. Once all the virtue cards are completed place them in the decorated card holder. Each week pick one card out of the holder, and place it in a visible location. That week focus on how you can implement that virtue with yourself and others. Put a check on the card when you have a success. At the end of the week put the card in an envelope. Choose another card for the new week and do the same. When you have gone through all the cards put them back in the card holder and do it all over again.
What is Love?
The word love is often used, but is it really understood? How does one love well? St. Paul discusses in detail how love is expressed. 1Corinthians 13:4-8a says, “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…”
The following paragraphs expound on these verses in hopes of garnering a better understanding of love, and how to apply love to oneself and others (Matthew 22:39b).
Patience is defined as the capacity to tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. This is not easy to achieve in this fast paced world. As stress levels rise impatience also increases. How can one begin to counteract this effect? This is where self care is very important. If one is worn down, nerves are frazzled, and one can easily be triggered. Begin with the basics. Are you receiving adequate sleep? Is your diet balanced? What are your coping skills for stress? Are you spending three or more days a week exercising? Do you pray daily? Are you spending time in God’s Word? When one begins to relax, mental clarity improves, and better decisions can be made.
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Here are some simple ways to extend kindness throughout the day: hold the door open for someone, smile, give a compliment, put up the grocery cart, give a hug, wave to a neighbor, give the gift of listening, or thank someone for their service. Being kind also applies to oneself. Often people are most critical of themselves. The kinder one is to him or herself the easier it is to extend kindness to others.
Jealousy is feeling envious of someone else. This is a state of dissatisfaction with oneself and coveting what someone has. 1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” People are bombarded with worldly messages of what defines beauty and success. This can lead to comparing oneself with others, which can lead to personal dissatisfaction. If someone struggles with an inadequate sense of self it may be rooted in childhood. If this is the case it takes time to confront faulty beliefs, and reprogram the mind with truth.
To boast means to talk with excessive pride about one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities. Boasting could be considered the cousin of jealousy. Jealousy is something felt based on comparison, while boasting is a behavior, perhaps attempting to compensate for an inadequate sense of self.
Arrogance is having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.” Arrogance results when one thinks of themselves as better than another in importance or abilities. While everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses no one has more worth and value than another. Each person is uniquely created by God in His image and likeness; therefore, worth and value is innate.
Rude is defined as ill-mannered. A lot can be learned from the poem, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.
Love does not insist on its own way. The art of negotiation begins with effective communication skills. Simply put many people do not know how to listen. The mind has been trained to be overstimulated so quieting it for a moment to actually listen to what someone is saying is not easy. Being aware of barriers to listening can be helpful. Some barriers include: thinking of a response versus focusing on what is being said, mental or physical distractions, biases and apathy. People want to be heard and understood before negotiation can begin.
To resent is to feel bitterness. When anger or hurt is not properly processed it can result in resentment, which eats away at the person maintaining it. If one finds themselves in a downward spiral of resentment seeking help is warranted.
Love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. God’s truth is the anchor that keeps one afloat in a tumultuous world. John 15:19 says, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” To love well means we do not condone sinful behavior, and we stand up for the truth.
St. Paul gives specific instructions on what one needs to focus on to love well. These instructions share both virtues and vices to work on. This provides a gold post one can aim towards. As one works to increase these virtues, and decrease these vices a holistic approach to mental health is taken: mind, body and spirit.