Jay Rifenbary

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Enhancing Your Personal Valor

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What is the current state of your personal valor? How brave are you? Are you brave enough to make the right decisions for your life, to confront your own internal struggles, to take ownership for your past, present and future? Are you brave enough to stand up for your personal convictions and beliefs when there may be some around you who wish to undermine you as a person? Valor is defined as, "boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery:" We understandably associate battle with military combat, however we are all challenged each day with the personal emotional, physical and family battles of life. How bold and determined are you, and have you been, in facing and conquering those every day battles?

How courageous are you in standing firm on the principles you believe in, and exemplifying behaviors that reinforces those principles? As the French Renaissance author and statesman Michel de Montaigne said, “Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.” Valor takes internal strength, commitment and effort, and is the reason many are prone to take the easy path, and go with the flow even though that flow may be socially detrimental.

Do you instill manners in your children and hold them accountable for their behaviors in their interaction with others, or don't bother because the trend is more accepting that our youth are more ill mannered than in years past? Do you tolerate insensitivity toward others by others, because the trend is a smartphone has greater priority than being considerate and empathetic toward another human being? Do you accept a greater prevalence of corruption and moral relativism, because the trend is one where it is now the social norm? Do you turn your back to the rampant excess of sexual content and violence that your children are exposed to via the media because the trend is it’s easier to ignore it than say, No? Do you blame others and everything around you as an excuse why you cannot be the honorable and accomplished person you can be, because the trend is that so many others are doing the same thing? What prominent trends do you witness each day that you believe are destructive to the very fabric of what structures a healthy society? Do you have the valor to challenge those trends, and in turn challenge and be true to yourself?

Valor is more likely to be demonstrated when your character is strong and intact. Character is defined as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” What distinctive mental and moral qualities do you possess? Are those qualities healthy and progressive, or unhealthy and stagnant? In most cases your character’s true sense is revealed when life is difficult not easy. An understanding of the core values you believe reflect the best in you is the foundation for structuring your character. Acting on those values develops strength of character, and the stronger your character the more likely you are to display valor. To have valor also relates to acknowledging your weaknesses. It takes courage to be vulnerable and to recognize at times the need for personal recovery from our failures and mistakes.

Optimum valor is achieved when the true reason for valor extends beyond oneself, is principled in nature, and is exercised in the belief that the outcome is in the best interest of humanity. Each day you have the opportunity to display valor. Having the courage to exemplify honesty in all you say and do, require your children to be mannerly, not tolerate others being disrespectful, and standing humbly firm for the principles you believe in are examples of displaying valor. Valor is the backbone for perseverance because it provides you the strength to carry on. As famed British author C.S. Lewis said, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” It will be your courage that preserves the form of the values and virtues you believe in, and strengthens you to persevere through those testing points in your life. Your personal valor will be your personal victory.



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