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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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      • English
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
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    What do you call voluntary emotions like courage, trust, patience?

    I am writing a book and need to categorize the response (voluntary) emotions we choose to practice and strengthen. What word can I use to define and describe the category of terms like:


    For instance, fear, anger, and happiness are emotions that can just pop up in situations. They are more "reflexive" in nature. Yes, they are the result of chosen thoughts based on our perspective/understanding, but they seem to arrive involuntarily. Contrarily, we can choose responses to these emotions. For example, when we are afraid, we can choose to exercise our courage. When we are late and anxious, we can choose to exercise our patience. When we need to rely on someone, we can remain suspicious and doubting, or we can have faith and trust them. We don't really exercise our fear, do we? Yet, courage can drive emotional hormones that affect our behavior, so... it is an emotion in some ways. Isn't it?

    Does anyone know the proper term for these chosen virtues that we exercise?

    They are feelings-based, but are they emotions? One could say they are states of mind or ways of the heart, but that doesn't really clarify the difference between reflexive emotions and these responsive ones.

    I believe they are called indefinite nouns, but I wanted something more descriptive.

    I looked all over the Internet and could not find a clear answer.

    Thank you for any helpful direction or answers.


  2. Route21's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • England
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      • Thailand

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 938

    Re: What do you call voluntary emotions like courage, trust, patience?

    Hi Steve

    I believe that you may have already hit on the answer: "virtues".

    See virtues - definition of virtues by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    virtue (vrch)n.

    a. Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness.
    b. An example or kind of moral excellence: the virtue of patience.

    Hope this helps

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