No one is born perfect. But the goods news is that we can all work to learn certain positive traits and behaviors that will improve our relationships, our happiness and our character. Cultivate this list of 21 personality traits that form the basis of a good character:
Generosity is the opposite of miserliness or cheapness. Generous people are giving towards others financially and interpersonally. Generous people are charitable. Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam, and is recognized as a virtue in Christianity an most other religions. When you think about generosity, money and material goods come to mind, but you can also be generous with your time, your friendship and your support of others. Generosity does not mean having no boundaries, being a pushover, or giving too much when you can't reasonably afford to do so.
It is basically an inevitable condition of living that you are going to screw up at some point. Even the most ethical people occasionally let their guard down and make mistakes. What differentiates some people from others, however, is the desire to take personal responsibility for mistakes, learn from them, and move past them. Many people have good intentions, but they fall short of being able to really change. A mistake or a fault is a thing that we must face whether it is happy or not. The process of correcting faults and improving your character has historically been called the Great Work.
Some people handle mistakes by convincing themselves that whatever happened wasn’t their fault, blaming others, or trying to forget about the situation altogether. The desire to ignore our faults and mistakes is strong because society teaches us to reject rather than embrace certain negative qualities. However, ignoring our mistakes can make things more difficult in the long run because if we do not learn from our mistakes, we may end up repeating them.
Staying calm when I am angry is something that I have always struggled with. The Stoics philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome believed that destructive emotions should not be tolerated in a person of integrity, so it is up to us to work past them.
Staying calm when you feel angry is a mental game that you can master.
Being able to stay calm and assertive regardless of your emotional state protects your character, and is a huge benefit to you in all types of interpersonal communication. When you stay in control, you will not allow yourself to do or say hurtful things which you later regret. And even if someone becomes angry at you, if you stay calm, you can learn to respond appropriately and ethically even under stress.
Ethics are really incredibly simple and uncomplicated. The key to happiness is living a life of personal integrity based on common sense ethics. A free will lives by rules that it gives to itself. Choosing a life of integrity has the overall effect of minimizing interpersonal and societal discord. If everyone tried their hardest to lead an ethical life, humanity would have far less problems than we have currently. Nearly every problem in human society is essentially a problem with the moral state of humanity.
Common sense ethics is my term for the straightforward understanding of shared ethical principles which humanity already has, that we have had for a long time. Common sense ethical principles are based on the lessons of daily living, as well as thousands of years of Eastern and Western philosophy, history and religion.
Growing in Goodness
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Thank you for your interest in Common Sense Ethics! I'm Leah, a librarian and freelance writer with a background in history and philosophy.
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