Today, I discuss how pursuing virtue helps you cultivate confidence in yourself.
Table of Contents
- The Perilous Nature of Institutions and Belief Systems
- How Pursuing Virtue Helps Us Deal With The Corruption of Institutions
- Despite Their Flaws, Our Institutions And Traditions Are Necessary
- Virtue Is Universal
The Perilous Nature of Institutions and Belief Systems
Most people trust institutions such as the church or the state. People follow these institutions and leaders for moral guidance, hope, and direction. For example, people look to their church leaders to determine what is right and what is wrong.
However, what if a church leader or a politician is embezzling or using their authority for sexual favors? What if these leaders are enjoying the very sin and inequities they claim to hate? Or, what if the belief systems supported by these institutions are proven false? For example, what happens to a person’s confidence in the idea of governance when they discover most of their tax money is wasted on vanity projects and kickbacks to corrupt power players?
The institutions we follow and the belief systems they represent are always ripe for corruption and doubt. Discovering corruption within an institution or uncovering new doubts in your belief system can shake any individual.
However, once things are exposed, where does that leave you?
How Pursuing Virtue Helps Us Deal With The Corruption of Institutions
“Be noble like the sun; let even those who resent you for shinning benefit from your warmth.” – Matshona Dhliwayo
When we are struck with the fallibility of institutions, belief systems, and man, virtue is the best long-term investment. Virtue is moral excellence. It is the pursuit of your best self at the expense of your comforts. Cultivating virtue means acting in sustainable, meaningful, and productive ways for yourself and your community.
The more you pursue the correct course of action, the more confidence you create in your ability to handle the uncertainties of the future. Instead of believing all the church’s moral teachings, you know what the good life consists of because you are living virtuously. Instead of depending on the government to help you, you can help yourself because you are productive. Instead of only associating with your corrupt family, you can build a different community with other virtuous individuals.
Ultimately, your goal is to develop confidence in yourself. And this confidence can only be created through virtuous actions. With faith in yourself, you don’t have to solely rely on institutions, belief systems, and men for guidance, moral absolutism, or meaning.
Despite Their Flaws, Our Institutions And Traditions Are Necessary
I want to end by stressing temperance and patience. We should not hastily throw away everything because we experience disappointment or face corruption. Don’t let your disappointment become an overreaction. If you’re going to be critical, be nuanced. For example, the church’s teachings have supplied the foundations for virtue, inspired some of the most incredible people who have lived, and contain endless wisdom on every topic. You shouldn’t disregard this wisdom because some clergy are acting immorally.
Additionally, pursuing virtue and personal excellence does not remove other factors from your life. You can be good because you believe in God and know a good life will make you happy and the good life will help your community, and so on. You build confidence in yourself by being virtuous. This way, if you stop believing in God or your community turns on you, you have a history of virtuous actions from yourself to fall back on as you rebuild what you’ve lost.
Virtue Is Universal
Most people do not know what they will do tomorrow. However, they will choose the weak, simple path. This assurance that they will pursue comfort over everything else produces neurotic, depressed individuals who cannot trust themselves or their future. Furthermore, men who place their sense of value in their religion or government will find themselves lost if belief in these institutions vanishes.
However, the individual who consistently follows virtue will have a firm foundation. This foundation will ensure he’s confident in himself because he strengthens his ability to weather all storms. Additionally, he builds confidence in his righteous actions instead of the erratic nature of institutions.
You only control yourself. No matter what you believe in or what institution you admire, you are always stuck with yourself and your actions.
Choose the right actions. Pursue virtue at the expense of your comforts. Become an Individual.
“The only thing lost in the pursuit of virtue is comfort.”
- What institution, tradition, or leader has let you down? What did they do that disappointed you?
- How virtuous are you? What actions are you taking to become the best version of yourself? When you continuously complete the tasks you set before yourself, how do you feel?
- What is one thing you want to improve about yourself? Why haven’t you gone after it? What can you do differently? How long will it take you to accomplish the task you set before yourself?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.