A Quiz on Virtue — See My Results?

(With many emoticons, for some reason.)

A Goody-Two-Shoes in Recovery

So. Last week, my darlings, we talked faux Virtue, self-sabotage, and other fun stuff like that. A very great many of you were very greatly quiet in the comments. 😉

Actually, I was hoping I’d get some negative responses, simply so I could now digress upon the *ahem* virtue of receiving critiques along with positive feedback.

But I have some Virtue Trap Quiz results to share with you, so I shan’t make you wait for those any longer. 😉

Confession Time

In The Artist’s Way, one of Julia Cameron’s exercises on the Virtue Trap is a complete-the-sentence quiz. Here is how I completed the sentences back in the summer of 2008:

Courtney’s Virtue Trap

1. The biggest lack in my life is … intimacy.
2. The greatest joy in my life is … writing and relationships.
3. My largest time commitment is … writing and The Artist’s Way, currently! 😉
4. As I play more, I work … harder and better.
5. I feel guilty that I am … taking time for me when others aren’t taking time for them.
6. I worry that … my creativity will never generate financial income.
7. If my dreams come true, my family will … be supportive but perplexed.
8. I sabotage myself so people will … think I’m as stressed as they are and accept me more readily.
9. If I let myself feel it, I’m angry that I … sold out to stronger personalities.
10. One reason I get sad sometimes is … I can’t be “like everybody else.”

Looking back nearly three years later, I see that 1 and 10 are directly related. But the most telling numbers to me are 4, 5, 8, and 9 — and I have learned from them.

This Is The Truth

TRUTH on #4
I don’t just want time to myself for artistic play (which looks like “doing nothing”) — I need time for artistic play, which looks like doing nothing! It’s when I’m “doing nothing” that my soul rests and my creative brain taps into the Source of its strength. My creative play infuses me with energy and motivates me to work beyond what I thought were my limits.

TRUTH on #5
I am not responsible for anyone’s choices but my own. If others don’t take time for themselves, that is not my fault. My guilt resulted from an overblown sense of self-important responsibility. (Let’s talk about that in the comments!) I refuse to feel guilty when I take care of my needs.

TRUTH on #8
I sabotaged myself by not getting enough sleep. When others complained about being tired, I could complain along with them, thereby creating a false sense of camaraderie and solidarity.

I sabotaged myself by not eating healthy or exercising. When others complained about being sick and out-of-shape, I could complain along with them, thereby creating a false sense of camaraderie and solidarity.

Yay, we’re all ridiculously exhausted, out-of-shape, and unaccomplished together!

What the…?!?

TRUTH on #9
I was angry when I wrote that list. I am still angry about this part of it. I haven’t yet forgiven myself for selling out. I suspect that’s going to take a long time. So thanks for listening to this part of it, dear readers — telling you about it is part of my therapy!

Foolish — With Enthusiasm!

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.


Sharing this list on the Internet — making myself this vulnerable — is incredibly foolish. I’m opening myself up to attack from all sides, and it’s scary. But I’m doing it with enthusiasm! Because this is what’s behind the Virtuous shell. This is what’s behind the Acquiescent Good Girl persona.

This is the source of the fear. And I refuse to be subject to it anymore.

Last week, I told you the story of my foolish parents, who pursued a creative dream to the other side of the world. They did it with enthusiasm!

The world told me that its brand of Virtue was wise. But true wisdom — discarding false Virtue in favor of Truth — appears foolish to the world. I’ve read about that concept in the Bible my whole life. Finally, I’m starting to understand what that means.

Finally, I’m starting to live by it. And with enthusiasm!


I know you’re out there. I can hear you breathing. 😉

How do you sabotage your creative self?

How have you sold out? What does your Virtue Trap look like?

Do these thoughts make you angry? Why?

6 thoughts on “A Quiz on Virtue — See My Results?

  1. Did you just quote a line from Colors of Deception? Yes, I think you did. 😉 *Like*

    This post is so very vulnerable and gutsy at the same time, and I love you for it, Courtney. (Now I sound all weird and stalkerish.) 😛

    I know I subconsciously self-sabotage, but not necessarily creatively. The problem is, I’m pretty sure the saboteur has got the wool pulled down pretty low over the sabotee’s eyes. I feel at a loss for defining what exactly the intentions of my subconscious are…and if I DID discover them, I don’t know I’d have the guts to share it online. Sorry I’m unable to better answer your question.

    • Ha! Becca, you don’t sound stalkerish at all. That’s exactly the kind of reaction I’m hoping for in readers — because if someone can love me for making myself so foolishly vulnerable, then maybe that will inspire and encourage them to make “fools” of themselves, too. 🙂

      I didn’t start figuring out my self-sabotaging ways until I worked through Cameron’s book. And even now, I’m sure I haven’t uncovered all of the saboteur’s motivations. It’ll probably be something I work at eliminating for the rest of my life, one little step at a time.

      But I think self-sabotage is a pretty normal part of the human condition. We all tend to stand in our own way. But I think that just consciously acknowledging the fact of our self-sabotage might be one of the biggest steps in getting rid of it. Even if we don’t know the true nature of the sabotage yet.

      And you’ll have to tell me which line is the Colors quote. I guess I don’t know my own work well enough! 😉

  2. I don’t know if I sabotage myself, but I do know that I feel terribly guilty when I do anything better than anybody else. For example, when we took end of the year tests, my mom got all the test results back because she coordinated the event for our homeschool group, so I knew how well all the other kids in my grade did. I was both proud of myself and squirmy on the inside because I felt bad that others didn’t do as well, even though of course it wasn’t my fault. And if I do worse than somebody, I’m okay, because it just gives me incentive to try harder the next time.
    And despite your wonderfully insightful post, I will probably continue to live this way, because that’s the kind of person that I am. 😛

    • Jessie, I don’t think anybody except you yourself can truly decide if your guilt = self-sabotage. I know that in my own life, I have allowed guilt to sabotage me — but that doesn’t apply to everyone. Seems like some people are able to use guilt as an initial motivator, and then they shake it off, forgive themselves, and do something wonderful. I’d like to get to that point, but it’s a long way off for me.

      Of course, I’d like to get to the point of no longer feeling guilty for *anything that is not my fault/responsibility* — but that’s even further off, I fear. Despite my wonderfully insightful post! 😉

      In the meantime, I totally agree with you about using others’ successes as motivation for self-improvement. That’s what role models are for. : )

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