List of Virtues: A Master List of Virtues and Their Meanings

Wikipedia defines virtue as a trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. It goes further to explain that it is any behavior that displays high moral standards by doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, which is the opposite of vice.

Some people consider virtues a Victorian concept, while others consider it a puritanical concept. The meaning of virtue varies from one person to the next. Philosophers from different cultures and ages took time to talk about cardinal virtues and their importance, including Greek philosophers, Plato, Buddha, and Yogis, who revealed the importance and significance of cultivating certain qualities or habits to better one’s life.

Hi, my name is Sean Galla. A facilitator for men’s social groups, also commonly referred to as men’s groups, with more than 10 years of experience.

For many generations, men have been made to believe that leading a happy, virtuous life, and being open about their issues or feelings is a sign of weakness. Men’s social groups work to ensure young men and old, regardless of orientation, or occupation, have access to a social space where they can exhale, enjoy good platonic male company, and even pick up a variety of social hobbies even as they learn of the best virtues to live by.

Whether you are looking to kick bad habits and replace them with good character traits, make new male friends or simply enjoy meaningless banter as you learn more about living a virtuous life, being part of a men’s social group can be the social break you need.

In this article, you will get all the information you need to understand virtues and a list of virtues to live by. Here is everything you need to know about virtues.

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

What Exactly Is a Virtue?

What Exactly Is a Virtue

A virtue can be defined as a good quality that you can adopt as part of your character to become the kind of man you have always wanted to be. It is a tendency to act right and does right by others. Virtue is more enduring than a behavior; instead of doing the right thing once or following a rule, being virtuous means that you become a kind person and one that follows the rules.

Every virtue has the potential of being a superpower. It can enable you to experience life in a magnificent way.

It is important to identify virtues that define the core values that are important to you as a person.

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Philosophical List of Virtues

The Greek philosopher Aristotle and Chinese philosopher Confucius also highlighted virtues that were important to them.

Aristotle’s list of 12 virtues

Aristotle is one of the best-known Greek philosophers and one of the greatest globally. In his work, he names morality and intellect as the main categories of virtues, which were further broken down into 12 important ones, according to him. He emphasized the need to emphasize each of the virtues in moderation to avoid deficiencies and excesses. His list of virtues includes:

  • Courage – including valor and bravery
  • Temperance – restraint and controlling one’s self
  • Liberality – generosity to others
  • Magnificence – spending great sums for honor’s sake
  • Pride – ambition, worthy of great things
  • Magnanimity – healthy belief in one’s own value
  • Good Temper – keeping a level head, patient
  • Friendliness – sociable to others
  • Truthfulness – being straightforward and honest
  • Wit – a sense of humor and joy
  • Modesty – neither shy nor shameless
  • Justice – having a fair mind and a sense of right and wrong

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Confucius’ list of 5 virtues

Just like the Greeks, the Chinese also came up with a list of philosophical virtues that humans can adapt to live a better life while minding the needs of others around them. Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, focused a lot on morality and correctness in his work. He came up with a list of five virtues. These include:

  • Ren – charity, and humility
  • Yi – honesty
  • Zhi – knowledge, and wisdom
  • Xin – faithfulness
  • Li – politeness, and propriety

Both philosophers emphasized the need to strike a balance when adapting these moral principles. They both believed that having too much or too little of a virtue could be dangerous. For instance, too much magnificence can lead to vulgarity, while too little of it can cause pettiness.

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Admirable Virtues From a Religious Perspective

Virtues From a Religious Perspective

Religious organizations like Christianity and Sikhism also list virtues that believers can live by.

The 9 virtues of Christianity

Commonly referred to as the fruits of the spirits in the bible, the list of virtues in the Christian context is broken down into 9 categories and considered gifts for mankind. These virtues are focused on keeping the believer just and moral in their thinking.  These virtues include:

  • Love – love in overs and yourself
  • Peace – calmness in yourself and God
  • Joy – finding joy in the world and in God
  • Forbearance – patience, and perseverance
  • Goodness – be generous to others
  • Kindness – having moral integrity
  • Gentleness – humility, and grace in situations
  • Faithfulness – being trustworthy to others and being faithful to your savior
  • Self-Control – controlling desires

In the bible, opposing these theological virtues means adhering to the seven deadly sins.

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Sikhism’s list of 5 virtues

Sikhism is a monotheistic religious practice that dates back to the 15th century. It advocates for five main virtues. These include:

  • Pyare (love) – caring for all creatures
  • Sat (truthfulness) – being just to others
  • Daya (compassion) – empathy toward others
  • Santokh (contentment) – happiness in yourself and God’s Will (Hukam)
  • Nimrata (humility) – keeping the ego in check

List of Virtues to Help You Live Your Best Life

Apart from the theological and philosophical list of virtues, many others can be adapted and incorporated into life to make it more fulfilling. Practicing the virtues listed in this article on a daily basis can change your life and make you a better person.

Virtues for Life

Trust, detachment, thoughtfulness, joy, kindness, courage, tranquility, focus, humility, wisdom, orderliness, generosity, justice, self-control, assertiveness, and integrity.

Virtues for Better Relationships

Helpfulness, modesty, peacefulness, beneficence, forgiveness, purposefulness, good counsel, responsibility, respect, tolerance, trustworthiness, perseverance, good judgment, gratitude, and obedience.

Virtues for Contentedness

Optimism, high self-esteem, dispassion, freedom from results, selflessness, meditation, taking risks, introspection, contentment, compassion, honesty, and thinking of others.

Virtues for Success

Leadership, cheerfulness, moderation, self-discipline, loyalty, courtesy, friendliness, sincerity, and temperance.

Virtues for Moral Living

Integrity, adaptability, mindfulness, self-respect, cooperation, assertiveness, empathy, tact, commitment, excellence, authenticity, grace, and prudence.

Virtues for Fulfillment

Honor, meekness, joyfulness, patriotism, foresight, industriousness, docility, greatness, prayerfulness, ambition, and liberality.

Virtues for Self-improvement

Certitude, Cleanliness, thankfulness, Decisiveness, Initiative, Endurance, Sacrifice, Steadfastness, unity, Wonder, and Zeal.

How to Improve Your Virtues

How to Improve Your Virtues

As a human being, you are prone to make mistakes, and it is not always easy to live by these moral codes. It is important to think that these virtues are a guide instead of strict rules. They are required to give you a framework for living your life.

Everyone has a few virtues they can improve to become better people and lead a better life. Take time to understand the list of virtues to know which areas of your life can use more balance. You can write down actions you need to take to improve the different areas that need work and come up with a plan to implement these actions.

Examples of virtues in action

The virtues listed in this article can be applied in many different ways. Some examples of how to apply them include:

  • Listening compassionately to a friend after they have had a difficult day.
  • Writing a short story.
  • Donating to different charities.
  • Studying a period of history.
  • Being present to appreciate nature and beauty
  • Showing sensitivity to a delicate matter someone reveals to you.
  • Showing up on time.
  • Taking time every day to meditate Following through on a difficult or boring project.
  • Believing in yourself and your abilities.
  • Listening patiently to an older person.
  • Choosing to be happy and positive.

Information About Men’s Group

If you are a man finding it hard to implement different virtues and character strengths, having a support system can go a long way in helping you adapt to new habits and live a better life. Men’s Group is a men-only support group where men come together to make new friendships and hold each other accountable. It offers a safe space for men to shed off their past vices and adapt virtues that can help them lead a more fulfilling life. If you are looking for guidance and a reliable social circle, MensGroup is the place you need to be.

As an online support forum, you can join in meetings from anywhere in the world via zoom.

Conclusion

As an individual, you are in a constant process of growing. Becoming a virtuous person or living a virtuous life is a lifelong process where you are constantly learning. If you want to cultivate good habits, joining a support group is one of the best choices you can make. MensGroup is a men-only support group where men come together to talk about issues affecting men and how to live a better, more fulfilling virtuous life.

*Sources:
1. Virtue Ethics
2. In Search of Virtue: The Role of Virtues, Values and Character Strengths in Ethical Decision Making
3. Virtue
4. Virtue Ethics
5. Ethics and Virtue

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