Perceptiveness is clarity of insight. It is being observant of what is beneath the surface and looking for the deeper meaning. When we are perceptive, our understanding is intuitive and discerning. We slow down into awareness. We perceive the nuances of meaning in an idea or situation. We strive to see what is truly going on. We are thoughtful and considerate. Above all, we offer others the gift of feeling heard and understood. We are mirrors to their souls.

In Family Life

In a family setting, the virtue of perceptiveness manifests as an intuitive understanding and keen awareness of each family member’s emotional and physical well-being. Those who embody this virtue can sense changes in mood, unspoken needs, or underlying concerns that others may overlook. Through thoughtful questions, empathetic listening, and a watchful eye, they often serve as the emotional anchors of the family unit.

They’re not just hearing words; they’re tuning in to tone, observing body language, and reading between the lines to grasp the full context of a situation. This enables them to offer the “art of companioning” to initiate meaningful conversations that might otherwise go overlooked. This way, perceptiveness enriches familial bonds, deepening the trust and open communication vital to a thriving family life.


Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

— Hans Margolius

 The Practice of Perceptiveness

  • I strive to have accurate insights.
  • I observe carefully.
  • I cultivate awareness.
  • I nurture my intuition.
  • I am thoughtful of the needs of others.
  • I seek to see others fully and fairly.

Balancing Virtues:

Perceptiveness is a virtue that allows us to delve beyond the surface, seeking a deeper understanding of the world around us. Balance perceptiveness with these virtues:

      • Empathy: Empathy balances perceptiveness by fostering genuine connection and understanding with others. It reminds us to not only perceive but also to truly empathize with the emotions and experiences of those around us, deepening our relationships and enriching our interactions.
      • Humility: Humility tempers perceptiveness by reminding us that we do not have all the answers. It encourages openness to different perspectives and a willingness to acknowledge our limitations, preventing arrogance or overconfidence in our insights.
      • Wisdom: Wisdom complements perceptiveness by guiding us to discern when to delve deeper and when to observe. It helps us apply our insights judiciously, ensuring our perceptiveness is grounded in sound judgment and understanding.

        We nurture a holistic approach to understanding and engaging with the world by cultivating these balancing virtues alongside perceptiveness.