The Seven Living Virtues: Honor

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught. ― HL Mencken


Honor is doing what’s right even when it’s difficult.

Honor is doing what’s right when no one will know the difference.

History favors those who’ve acted honorably in the face of adversity, and Hollywood loves making movies about honorable heroes under pressure.

Honor is difficult to describe without using examples: The teenager who stands up for her friend with a disability, the homeless man who returns a wallet filled with money, the whistleblower who risks her job to make sure a company stops dumping toxic waste.

Quotations also help:

“Honor is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride.” ~ Julian Pitt-Rivers, Anthropologist

“The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality, what we would appear to be; all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice and experience of them.” ~ Socrates

“Content thyself to be obscurely good. When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.” ~ Joseph Addison

“Honor is the reward of virtue.” ~ Marcus Cicero

“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.” ~ Lois McMaster Bujold

Honorable people act on a code of what’s right and wrong. Honorable people demonstrate immense respect towards themselves, others, and the standards they hold themselves to.

Honorable people keep their word, even when it isn’t easy. They do the right thing even others do not, and sometime especially when others are not.


* The seven living virtues are the positive version of seven deadly sins. This entry is part of a seven-part series:

  1. Fortitude
  2. Honor
  3. Compassion
  4. Charity
  5. Acceptance
  6. Forgiveness
  7. Humility

The idea is to learn to recognize and cultivate these traits in yourself, and to recognize and appreciate others who have them, with the intention of being happier and more fulfilled while on the path to accomplishing your goals.


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