vulnerable

V is for vulnerable, in Virtues and views, Blogging from A to Z.

Is feeling vulnerable a virtue or a vice?

I don’t think feeling vulnerable is either a virtue or a vice. It’s a feeling. It is a feeling that our society puts pressure on adults, particularly males, not to feel. Or not to admit.

I read Robert Johnson, PhD, Owning our own shadow. He asks what three aspects of ourselves we are most proud of. For me, at that time, the triad was toughness, smarts and independent. He says that the opposite, or shadow, of that triad, is what we are most afraid of….

….oh, and he had me there. I look in my mirror and see someone smart, tough, independent, and terrified of being vulnerable.

I am much less terrified now. I am a physician: everyone is sick sometimes, vulnerable sometimes, everyone does dumb things sometimes, and dependence will come as well as death. I needed to bring that fear out of the shadow and make friends with it. Bringing those shadows forward is hard work! I don’t want to! But I can and I like to work and I am good at working. Small steps daily on a path with love and thought and care…..

Dictionary.com vulnerable

adjective

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon:
a vulnerable part of the body.

2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.:
an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.

3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend:
a vulnerable bridge.

4. Bridge. having won one of the games of a rubber.

So we ALL fall under the first definition! ALL OF US!

Our culture derides and conflates vulnerability with weakness sometimes. Don’t let it. Stand up. Speak out. Do not let fear stop us….

temperance

Temperance: for Blogging from A to Z, the letter T. What does temperance mean to you? Do you ever say “I feel temperate.” Do you call someone else temperate? Is it a virtue to you?

Temperance is one of the four Cardinal Virtues which go back to the Greeks, Aristotle and Plato. But it meant self control then, not abstinence from liquor. Self control, self-restraint, moderation…I think we could still value that but our culture of drama and advertising and self-promotion and stardom doesn’t very much.

dictionary.com temperance

noun

1.moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control.

2.habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, especially in the use of alcoholic liquors.

3.total abstinence from alcoholic liquors.

But… let’s look at the word origin:

Word Origin and History for temperance

n. mid-14c., “self-restraint, moderation,” from Anglo-French temperaunce (mid-13c.), from Latin temperantia “moderation,” from temperans, present participle of temperare “to moderate” (see temper ). Latin temperantia was used by Cicero to translate Greek sophrosyne “moderation.” In English, temperance was used to render Latin continentia or abstinentia, specifically in reference to drinking alcohol and eating; hence by early 1800s it came to mean “abstinence from alcoholic drink.”

Webster 1913 from everything2.com: temperance

1. Habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; moderation; as, temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth; specifically, moderation, and sometimes abstinence, in respect to using intoxicating liquors.

2. Moderation of passion; patience; calmness; sedateness.
[R.] “A gentleman of all temperance.” Shak.

He calmed his wrath with goodly temperance. Spenser.

3. State with regard to heat or cold; temperature.
[Obs.] “Tender and delicate temperance.” Shak.

Temperance society, an association formed for the purpose of diminishing or stopping the use of alcoholic liquors as a beverage.
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I want to take words back and use them again and expand them back to previous meanings. Why is Webster 1913 more elaborate and subtle in definitions than Dictionary.com? Have you used the word temperate? Try it today…I will be temperate in my emotions, temperate in eating, temperate when driving…what will you be temperate about today?

I took the photograph from Marrowstone Island… the colors used to paint the sky are not temperate at all, are they?

 

nasty

For the Blogging from A to Z, my theme is Virtues and views: two lists of seven virtues, but my goal is to write about emotions. Could feeling nasty ever be a virtue?

Have you ever felt nasty? Have you called someone else a nasty person? Have you ever felt that you behaved in a nasty way? And what did you mean by nasty?

Again, here are definitions from Dictionary.com and from Webster 1913. The definition changes over time.

Webster 1913 from https://everything2.com/title/Nasty

Nas”ty (?), a. [Compar. Nastier (); superl. Nastiest.] [For older nasky; cf. dial. Sw. naskug, nasket.]

1. Offensively filthy; very dirty, foul, or defiled; disgusting; nauseous.

2. Hence, loosely: Offensive; disagreeable; unpropitious; wet; drizzling; as, a nasty rain, day, sky.

3. Characterized by obcenity; indecent; indelicate; gross; filthy.

Syn. — Nasty, Filthy, Foul, Dirty. Anything nasty is usually wet or damp as well as filthy or dirty, and disgusts by its stickness or odor; but filthy and foul imply that a thing is filled or covered with offensive matter, while dirty describes it as defiled or sullied with dirt of any kind; as, filthy clothing, foul vapors, etc.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/nasty

adjective, nastier, nastiest.
1. physically filthy; disgustingly unclean:
a nasty pigsty of a room.
2. offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
3. offensive; objectionable:
a nasty habit.
4. vicious, spiteful, or ugly:
a nasty dog; a nasty rumor.
5. bad or hard to deal with, encounter, undergo, etc.; dangerous; serious:
a nasty cut; a nasty accident.
6. very unpleasant or disagreeable:
nasty weather.
7. morally filthy; obscene; indecent:
a nasty word.

noun, plural nasties.
9. Informal. a nasty person or thing.

I took the photograph in the evening on the beach, with a gorgeous front and the mountains taking turns being lit by the evening. Is the rain nasty weather or is it the spring coming and bringing flowers? Do you celebrate “nasty” weather? Some days I do….

modest and meek

Virtues and views: the virtue today is humility. I am using modest and meek, both synonyms, for humility. Humility is the virtue to oppose pride. I used hope for the letter h, so in this blogging from A to Z, I look for synonyms. Wordplay gives me joy.

Humility is not one of the four cardinal virtues valued by the Romans, nor one of the three theological virtues. Do you value being humble, being modest or meek? Most of the examples in our culture that I think of right now are people recommending that other people be modest or meek. Men ordering women to obey and Caucasians saying that other races should be patient, meek, quiet, wait….. And yet we are told to be proud of our country, of our flag, of being number one. I think we need to learn humility again…. and I am afraid that in our pride we will learn it the hard way.

In the last week three people in clinic gave me compliments. But two others were not satisfied, did not get what they wanted, and yelled at me. My head won’t swell with pride, because I hear both praise and criticism. All I can do is the best I can, no better….I don’t want to be the best doctor: I want excellence for all of our providers, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants. Excellence in nurses, in hospital staff, in diabetic education, in cardiac and pulmonary rehab, in physical therapy, in hospital maintenance staff, in cleaning and housekeeping, in reception and scheduling. Excellence as a team. Let the whole world be the best and rise humbly to excellence….not one race or gender or religion….

And then I hope we see other worlds and beings and they do the same….

A meek and modest vision for humanity.

I took the photograph in 2014: sometimes the sky is neither meek nor modest, but glorious.

 

love

Two of the 7 heavenly virtues to match the sins start with c: chastity and charity, so the feeling of love here stands for charity.

Charity is on both virtue lists: the earlier list of faith hope and charity and the later list of seven heavenly virtues to match the sins. But that list is from  Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, a Christian governor who died around 410 A.D, so it’s not exactly recent. And that was in an epic poem entitled Psychomachia, or Battle/Contest of the Soul.

Which sin is the opposite of charity? Greed. I wrote about greed last year, under A is for Avarice. And yet I don’t think of the opposite of greed as love. Perhaps if we did think that we would be more generous. Right now it seems more that we revere the rich and also enjoy their downfall: addiction and scandal. Even with news covered with scandal and glorifying greed, I think there are still many people who are generous, who quietly practice love and charity. Let us celebrate them today and send them love in return.

Webster 1913:

Char”i*ty (?), n.; pl. Charities (#). F. charit’e fr. L. caritas dearness, high regard, love, from carus dear, costly, loved; asin to Skr. kam to wish, love, cf. Ir. cara a friend, W. caru to love. Cf. Caress.

1. Love; universal benevolence; good will.

Now abideth faith, hope, charity, three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1. Cor. xiii. 13.

They, at least, are little to be envied, in whose hearts the great charities . . . lie dead. Ruskin.

With malice towards none, with charity for all. Lincoln.

2. Liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to put the best construction on the words and actions of others.

The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable. Buckminster.

3. Liberality to the poor and the suffering, to benevolent institutions, or to worthy causes; generosity.

The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spake like a Christian. Dryden.

4. Whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the needy or suffering for their relief; alms; any act of kindness.

She did ill then to refuse her a charity. L’Estrange.

5. A charitable institution, or a gift to create and support such an institution; as, Lady Margaret’s charity.

6. pl. Law Eleemosynary appointments grants or devises including relief of the poor or friendless, education, religious culture, and public institutions.

The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers. Wordsworth.

Sisters of Charity R. C. Ch., a sisterhood of religious women engaged in works of mercy, esp. in nursing the sick; — a popular designation. There are various orders of the Sisters of Charity.

Syn. — Love; benevolence; good will; affection; tenderness; beneficence; liberality; almsgiving.

 

I took the photograph at Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada in 2012. A place that I love….

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: the letter L

Kind

Back to 7 sins and friends, virtues and views. I am behind on the Blogging from A to Z, sick yesterday. When I overdo I get a massive headache, nausea and have trouble standing upright.

Are you kind? Kindness is one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues, to oppose the sin of envy.

And that is interesting. Dictionary.com lists the following for kind:

adjective, kinder, kindest.

1. of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person:
a kind and loving person.

2. having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence:
kind words.

3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane (often followed by to):
to be kind to animals.

4. mild; gentle; clement:
kind weather.

5. British Dialect. loving; affectionate.

But it lists the antonym as cruel, not envious.

Have the words changed meaning? Do you think of kindness as the opposite of envy? Does envy lead us to be cruel?

I took this photograph in the fading light and so it is soft and grainy. I am thinking that for me walking outside and going to nature is healing. Walking in the beauty of the earth and the evening night falling, it feels as if the earth itself is kind. I don’t think any feeling is evil: but I would rather manage envy on my own. I would rather act on kindness.