4 Cardinal Virtues for a Happy and Meaningful Life

Do you want a happy and meaningful life? According to Lao Tzu, there a 4 cardinal virtues that will assure you will experience greater joy in life, as well as find meaning and purpose. Lao Tzu means “Old Master.” He shared The Four Cardinal Virtues in the Tao Te Ching many centuries ago, but these rules of life still resonate with many wisdom seekers around the world.

I learned the 4 Cardinal Virtues from the late Wayne Dyer, who studied the Tao Te Ching for a year before he wrote his best-selling book Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao (aff).

The 4 Cardinal Virtues for a happy and meaningful life - Lao Tzu - The Positive MOM

“The four cardinal virtues are a road map to the simple truth of the universe. To revere all of life, to live with natural sincerity, to practice gentleness, and to be in service to others is to replicate the source from which you originated.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Let’s explore the 4 cardinal virtues of the Tao, so we can “seek the Kingdom of God” here on Earth.

Cardinal Virtue #1 ~ Reverence for all Life

The virtue “reverence for all life” entails having unconditional love, respect, and a deep sense of appreciation for all forms of life, for all of God’s creations. The way I see it is, if what I create is an expression of who I am, every being on this planet is an expression of God. That includes you.

When we revere all life unconditionally, we do not kill, harm, wish harm, or have thoughts of harm, condemnation, or judgment toward any living being (animals, plants, and people… including yourself!). I was reminded of this recently as I visited Pandora, The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World with my daughters. 

We are all equally beautiful, wondrous, wonderfully made, lovable, and worthy. Why do we create separation with our thoughts when God created us to be one? 

I didn’t understand this until I started questioning my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings toward people that did, said, or didn’t do or say something that caused me pain. It wasn’t until I changed and started seeing them with positive regard that I felt a sense of peace, joy, and even gratitude for them. I now see them as innocent, pure, and godlike.  Who am I to condemn them, to judge them, or to place them beneath me or someone else? 

As I see myself different from someone else, I create division and disconnect myself with the source of all life. When we focus on seeing everyone and everything in our planet as equals, we feel grand and humble, all at the same time.

Cardinal Virtue #2 ~ Natural Sincerity

The virtue “natural sincerity” refers to being your true self with authenticity and vulnerability. It encompasses integration, alignment, and simplicity. Being insincere or dishonest often comes because we crave attention, approval, and appreciation from others, so you practice people pleasing, rather than honoring who you are and saying what you feel. This is intimately tied to fear: fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of failure, fear of separation, and fear of loss of what we are attached to.

As you allow your desires and actions to align, living in the present moment, you will experience more personal freedom, direction, and meaning in your life, because you will find your truth.

As you allow your desires and actions to align, living in the present moment, you will experience more personal freedom, direction, and meaning in your life, because you will find your truth. Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM

Striving for natural sincerity can sound like a paradox, so I think of it as “practicing” because it serves as a reminder that I am a student, doing the best I can to be sincere, loyal, and faithful to myself, to others, and to my divine mission here on Earth. 

When you are real about who you are, you will inspire those around you who are struggling to find their own way, especially your kids!

Cardinal Virtue #3 ~ Gentleness

The virtue of “gentleness” is, in essence, kindness. I often say that “meekness is not weakness,” but we have live in a society that places greater value in being tough. Sensitivity is powerful, especially when it is manifested as empathy, non judgment, and compassion.

Meekness IS NOT Weakness

What came up for me when I first thought of an attitude of gentleness as a cardinal virtue is that I must be soft with other people’s feelings: offering understanding when I don’t understand, practicing forgiveness as best as I can, and remaining calm when I want to scream, yell, or say something snarky. 

I’ve seen that when I am trying to explain myself, to “be right” (which automatically makes others wrong), or to have the last word, the outcome is often more conflict; however, when I act with thoughtfulness, empathy, and consideration, instead of conflict, I get connection. To be gentle means identifying and letting go of the demands of my ego, my selfish desires. 

We all have people in our lives that know exactly the best way to run our lives and raise our kids, and they will tell us and everyone how. They try to overpower us in every conversation, and they often poke at open wounds, rather than offering healing words or healing actions. These moments of judgment can be triggering for me, but when I meditate and pray about it, I see that these people are extremely valuable in my life because they teach me the pain and suffering that can come from a lack of gentleness, and from chasing the illusion of human righteousness and control. 

Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 5: “Blessed are the peacemakers…for they shall be called the children of God.” As we strive to live a life that promote peace and charity, we must shed the self-importance and be intentional in choosing every action and reaction, so we are more in alignment with the godlike person we know we are meant to become, to be.

Cardinal Virtue #4 ~ Service

In explaining this cardinal virtue, Dr. Dyer quote the poet, Hafiz: “Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth ‘you owe me.’” Isn’t that beautiful to contemplate? 

The sun never says to the earth you owe me! - The Positive MOM

Many of our worries are based on what we personally or as a family do or don’t accomplish or accumulate. When we see ourselves as divine beings, we forsake the sense of entitlement that sabotages our peace and the comparison that eats at our joy. Excuses like “I don’t have time,” “I don’t have money,” “I don’t know how,” “I don’t have the tools” or “I don’t have energy,” will be gone and you will realize the immense abundance you actually enjoy. 

To be in service is to invest in being supportive of self and others. You can serve with your caring thoughts, words, actions, presence, and energy. You can also practice generosity by openly giving a portion of the time and resources you are blessed with.

People who experience true joy in this life often give, serve, and support others without expecting a reward in return. They shift from being takers to being caretakers. They strive to love all and serve all.

These 4 cardinal virtues are essential to live a life of grace, ease, and light, and to rid yourself of that which doesn’t serve you in your roles as a woman, mom, and mom entrepreneur. 

When you understand your identity, embrace your purpose, and center your life on expressing that gift as a contribution to others, that is when you will obtain higher wisdom, enjoy a deeper connection to your innate spirituality, and gain access miracles you didn’t even imagine. 

Positive affirmations can help us keep these 4 cardinal virtues on the forefront of our minds. Here are five intentions you can set to start the day:

I possess divine worth

I revere all life

I live from my authentic self

I practice gentleness

I love all, serve all

These statements won’t feel true because realignment and reconnection with the divine within is a journey. We can all strive to live in harmony with our original nature each day, without seeking perfection outside of what is. 

Which cardinal virtue will you focus on? As we practice the 4 cardinal virtues as a way of life, we can live a happy and meaningful existence. We can access the true self and life just flows! 

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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6 thoughts on “4 Cardinal Virtues for a Happy and Meaningful Life

  1. I choose Cardinal virtue number 4 which is gentleness and kindness. I want to be more understanding of other people’s feeling, even when i feel like yelling and screaming at them. It goes without saying that i want other people to treat me with gentleness too.

  2. I have always been described as having a “strong personality.” Honestly, what I actually am is a real softie. I just put on that facade to protect myself from being hurt and taken advantage of. I think I should work on being more gentle and get rid of the facade.

  3. These 4 cardinal virtues would indeed make all of us happy and our life would for sure be meaningful. It is indeed about respecting as well as appreciating everything that comes our way as well as every living thing. Thanks for sharing the information.

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