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5 Toxic Vices to Personal Growth

The most detrimental vices and the virtues you should strive for instead.

I'm a firm believer in the notion that there are no "bad" people, only people who chose to do bad things. Everyone at any given point in their life can choose who they want to be and what they want to stand for. Over time, I've been able to recognize certain traits in myself and others that lead to bad things (distrust, animosity, jealousy, ostracism, etc). These traits are vices, defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as "a moral fault or weakness in someone's character."

As you may know, the opposite of a vice is a virtue. Virtues like empathy, patience, and courage, for example, give us positive ideals to strive for and are what we'd hope to be able to expect from other people.

Interestingly, the two are not necessarily opposite or absolute. According to Aristotle, a virtue is the "Golden Mean" between two vices. For example, we may agree that generosity is a virtue, but being too generous is munificent or maybe even foolhardy. Both can be viewed as vices in this way; they are an excess of generosity which is often inappropriate as it can lead to bad things. Similarly, a deficit of generosity would be stinginess or greed; both are vices for obvious reasons.

That being said, when you seek to turn away from your vices be careful not to overdo it and stumble into more vicious behavior. Always seek the appropriate amount of any behavior in pursuit of virtue. Keep reading for what I consider to be the most toxic vices for your personal growth.



This one makes the top of the list in my opinion. To be too prideful is to shun the truth and the pursuit of knowledge and instead assert that you cannot be wrong. This goes against all that I know to be true about the importance of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and personal growth.

It's not weak to apologize when you're wrong, it actually takes strength and integrity to do so. There is great value in being humble and recognizing that you are not the center of the universe. If you find that you have a little bit of an inflated sense of self and you find it hard to apologize to people when you're wrong, practice sitting in that feeling and admitting it to yourself. Then admit that you're wrong to whoever may have been affected. Additionally, try giving the people the benefit of the doubt and assume that everyone has good intentions and good reasons for their actions.


This is a more understandable vice, but ultimately cowardice is weakness. As humans, we are faced with temptation every day, and it is understandable to play things safe to avoid your fears. But when you know doing the right thing is in itself scary, you must act despite your fear. Remember that courage is just that -- not the absence of fear but acting despite it.

Cowardice only causes problems and regret, don't give into it. For example, I often find cowardice creeping up when I have to verbally stand up for myself or someone else. But those are the situations in which courage could not be more virtuous. Do the things that scare you, they are most likely going to be the best instruments for growth.


Individualism will not get you very far in life. We've seen that through the pandemic and other political events over the last few years. The way people live on the other side of the world can still affect you and vice versa. The way I see it, it is the duty of the fortunate to give to the less fortunate in the same way it is our moral duty to help those in need. The world literally runs on those acts of good faith.

I know some may disagree with that statement but think about if the opposite were true. A world where everyone keeps to themselves and leaves the next person to fend for themselves in times of need is conceptually impossible. We've only come this far because our species is hardwired for community.

If life has afforded you fortune or privilege in some way, it is your duty to use that privilege to benefit the world.


No one likes an impatient Karen. Remember that everyone at any given point in time is simply doing their best, or doing what is required of them. When you wait only good things come to you. Get in the habit of trusting "fate" and the notion that in time, everything will work out.


This probably doesn't count as a true vice as there may be some situations where being passive-aggressive is perfectly acceptable. But I think it's one to be generally avoided. If you have something to say, stand up straight and say it with conviction. Full stop.


Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it :) If you liked this post, check out some other posts of mine below. If you want to see more of my day-to-day life, follow me on insta @ariels_view!



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My name is Ariel and I'm super passionate about mental health, self-help, and personal growth...

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