“What we do in life echoes in eternity!” This declaration, made by the character General Maximus Decimus Meridius, is intensely depicted in the motion picture Gladiator (2000). I have watched this movie over and over and I am still intrigued. What fierce costumes, desperate acts of courage, and disturbed versus heroic characterizations of human beings. What a movie! No wonder the film was nominated for and won multiple awards, particularly five Academy Awards in the 73rd Academy Awards including Best Picture. And, what a point its creators have made! Our actions stare back at us. The fallout from our behavior does reverberate throughout our life.
And, this point is very relative to our relationships, and particularly those closest to us. Over the course of time, any significant relationship is inevitably subject to becoming tarnished. Isn’t it certain character that directs us in the behaviors of our choice when we are in the course, whether that be the downfall or the incline, of relating?
Interestingly enough, this point was made in Gladiator. Our internal character influences us to make decisions that restore or further erode our situations. Remember Commodus attempting to convince his father, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, to let him be his successor to the throne, “You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but… there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list.” By watching the Gladiator one can witness the fall of the Emperor’s ambitious son through tracking his defects of character.
Which character strengths and virtues do you value? Which do you possess? Which do others witness as demonstrative of you?
Our character strengths and virtues aid us in our relationships, and the lack thereof leads us to diminished connections. Interested in repairing your strained relationship/s at home, at your work, or with someone significant to you? If you are mindful of your character virtues and defects of character you have a greater opportunity to resolve your trials.
Peace and Grace, Dr. Lenore Doster