Intention setting is the highest form of self-care. Our words are powerful; magical, in fact! Words are energy, and energy elicits response. What language and tone do you call on when you chat with yourself? Are you generally self-critical or self-compassionate? Do you you’re your Inner Critic or your Gentle Observer? Do you speak to yourself in the language of the virtues and move mindfully through your precious days, focused on your highest health and greatest good? What are Virtues? Virtues are what’s good about us…qualities like love, understanding, acceptance, kindness, joyfulness, honor, tact, orderliness, self-discipline, assertiveness, beauty, thoughtfulness, gratitude, peacefulness, flexibility, purposefulness, grace, and many more. If I were to ask you what your top ten qualities of character or virtues are, would you be able to rhyme them off without hesitation? It’s often easier to identify our shortcomings than our virtues. Our brains default to that negativity bias more often than not…but that’s for another discussion. Virtues-based strategies and how they can provide a map for self-care: self-care and serving me first, speaking kindly to myself, recognizing teachable moments as guideposts and evidence that I'm showing up in my life, setting clear boundaries based in restorative justice so I can be in integrity with what I truly value, honoring my spirit and seeking out beauty and reverence daily, and companioning myself with gentleness and care as I would my dearest friend. Using the list of virtues, invite what you'd like more of in your life and empower that manifestation with regular intention setting! VIRTUES: THE GIFTS OF CHARACTER
Acceptance Accountability Appreciation Assertiveness Awe Beauty Caring Certitude Charity Cheerfulness Cleanliness Commitment Compassion Confidence Consideration Contentment Cooperation Courage Courtesy Creativity Decisiveness Detachment Determination Devotion Dignity Diligence Discernment Empathy Endurance Enthusiasm Excellence Fairness Faith Faithfulness Fidelity Flexibility Forgiveness Fortitude Friendliness Generosity Gentleness Grace Gratitude Helpfulness Honesty Honor Hope Humanity Humility Idealism Independence Initiative Integrity Joyfulness Justice Kindness Love Loyalty Mercy Mindfulness Moderation Modesty Nobility Openness Optimism Orderliness Patience Peacefulness Perceptiveness Perseverance Prayerfulness Purity Purposefulness Reliability Resilience Respect Responsibility Reverence Righteousness Sacrifice Self-discipline Serenity Service Simplicity Sincerity Steadfastness Strength Tact Thankfulness Thoughtfulness Tolerance Trust Trustworthiness Truthfulness Understanding Unity Wisdom Wonder Zeal
This List of 100 Virtues Comes from The Virtues Project TM
A “Positivity Sandwich” is a delicious gift we can choose to feed ourselves when we’re in the middle of a teachable moment. Not all of life’s lessons are ‘feel good’, in fact, most are shrouded in shame, guilt and humiliation.
The Positivity Sandwich, is an idea created by Dale Carnegie. It's a reframing tool that helps remind us to consciously choose the words and tone we use with ourselves in those uncomfortable teachable moments. We can treat ourselves to a positivity sandwich when we want to course correct. It’s a much more delicious way of being with/for ourselves, and moves us away from self-effacement and knee jerk self-judgments and criticism, which are often habits we’ve just become used to. Most of the negative inner chatter is just below the radar and doesn’t make headlines, and we don’t know why we feel unfulfilled, stuck, overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, sad, hurt, angry or whatever negative feeling comes upon us. Many of us have stopped feeling all together because it’s become too uncomfortable. When we don’t allow the negative feels, access to positive feelings is impeded.
Consciously choosing or intending the words and tone of voice we use to speak to ourselves is an act of love and self-care. Calling on our virtues, our gifts of character, can assist in our course correction and leave us feeling worthy and loved.
How do we make a Positivity Sandwich?
1) Identify the Teachable Moment. There are several in a day … from hitting the snooze button too many times (anxiety/being late), to overeating (discomfort and pain), overdrinking (hangover), yelling at your partner/kids (shame/guilt), procrastinating (distractions/unfinished work), miscommunication over text/email (regret) and more… Can you name a few? What have been your most recent teachable moments, those life lessons that had you wanting to pull the duvet over your head and hide?
2) Mindfully and intentionally acknowledge a virtue we see in ourselves that can be in some way relative to the lesson. For example, if I were to choose the lesson of hitting my snooze button over and over, instead of shaming and blaming myself, I could choose to acknowledge that on most days “I practice self-care and compassion when I take time in the morning for my routine of reverence”. This becomes the top slice of bread in my positivity sandwich.
3) The middle of my sandwich is where I address my teachable moment. It’s my opportunity to create a virtues-based growth opportunity, rather than a shame-based knee jerk response. The virtue I choose for this lesson is self-discipline. “Wendy, please practice self-discipline and get out of bed when your alarm goes off”.
4) In the end, we acknowledge and thank ourselves for the loving conscious awareness we’ve practiced through our teachable moment. “Thank you, sweetie, for your commitment to getting out of bed when your alarm goes off”.
Our oxytocin and dopamine hormones are released when we gently nurture and feed our soul love and respect through virtues acknowledgements. Conversely, when we sail through on auto pilot, we miss the opportunities to course correct and most often find ourselves steeped in cortisol, anxiety and fear.
How I acknowledge and talk about myself, influences my intention setting, so how can I make my intentions more robust? Practice virtues-based intention setting It’s a new language and will likely feel forced and awkward to start, but stick with it; you’ll grow to love acknowledging the virtues you see in yourself, and others! It’s a great way to bring on the feel-good hormones and enhance an elevated and evidence-based connection with ourselves and each other.