I’m virtuous from far away.

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I don’t remember what started it, but I was yet again saying “Patience is not one of the virtues I have.” Then I wondered what the others were, if I could remember. Thankfully my friend couldn’t remember either, so I didn’t feel like a total dork.

So we Googled it, and I now know all seven virtues:

1.Chastity
2.Temperance
3.Charity
4.Diligence
5.Patience
6.Kindness
7.Humility

I don’t think I have any of these. My friend laughed and pointed out that I do in fact have them, but she is looking at my life as a whole ,while I’m looking at my life day to day. And I realized my virtue is like Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon.

From far away it’s a beautiful painting full of light, movement, clearly creating a clear image. But up close the picture blurs and all you see are the dots. Dots that make a dress, grass, or water. The picture is lost in the dots.
When I examine if I am virtuous, I see:

Photographer victoriapeckham

1.The pictures of half-naked men I’ve posted on Facebook this week.
2.That I yelled at the kids.
3.That I haven’t given money to anything recently.
4.That if given the chance, I will sit around and read while my to-do list grows by itself.
5.That I hate waiting.
6.That I ignored the kid who talks non-stop in the car.
7.That I bragged about my awesomeness.

My friend laughed and reminded me that:
1.I haven’t cheated on my husband.
2.That I am able to calm down kids throwing fits.
3.That I work for a charity.
4.That I have written, revised, and edited a novel.
5.That I will sit for hours in line at Comic Con.
6.That I am always willing to listen, offer a hug, and do my best to help.
7.uesI blush whenever I’m complemented.

This got me to thinking that maybe I should try to look at more of myself and my life from far away. Maybe by delving in to every aspect of my life with a microscope it’s easy to find mistakes, flaws, and failures. But if I step back and looked at the back week, month, year, then maybe I would be able to find the me that other people seem to see.
How to you judge yourself? Are you a better person from further away?

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7 responses »

  1. I have that painting hanging in my house, so I know exactly what you mean. Yes, I think we look better from the totality of our lives instead of that one moment we blew it (okay, okay, more than one). In particular, sometimes I feel like I’m not that great a parent, but then I realize that my kids are pretty well cared for and know that they’re loved. I don’t volunteer with the PTA nearly as much as some moms or take my kids to Disney every year (or any year), but I give parenting my best shot and it’s not all bad; some parts are pretty darn good. And for when I fail, there’s always sarcastic humor and therapy my kids can use to deal.

    • Parenting is such a hard thing to judge one minute you’re amazing, making cookies, teaching them about Japan, and listening as they tell you your secrets and the next minute you’re screaming and threatening to send them to boarding school in Kenya if they ever leave a dirty socks int he hallway again! I think if you are parenting with love and humor everything will turn out all right.

  2. Lovely analogy. Yes, I think you are absolutely right. I know I am my worst critic. Alica, I think it was you who, years ago, when I said I had no discipline reminded me of all the hours I put into aikido. I think my virtues list would look like your first one, all criticisms of myself. But I do the best I can and sometimes that means failing. It also means a lot of successes to. I like your idea of looking at the big picture, because the view is much better from far away.

    • LOL- We always see the worst of ourselves and judge ourselves by the last things we did. I am not patience because I snapped at the boy child for leaving his dirty dishes on the table- AGAIN! Instead of seeing the hours we put into something else like Aikido, cleaning, or making food.

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