Monday, November 3, 2008

Personal Values

So, the visit to the microbrewery was pretty fun. Lots of great costumes and cute guys!My friend got a tad too toasted so it wasnt all good. But for the most part i enjoyed the night out .
I wish i had taken a camera though. There was this one count dracula costume with a blow up doll sewn on the crotch area to look as though she was "using her oral skills"....what a hoot!
I hope that everyone had a Happy Halloween and is looking forward to a wonderful turkey day like i am.
But, anyway.....
Values.
What are they? how are they different from goals or morals or ethics or mission statements?
Yup, there sure are a lot of ays in which we express ourselves.
To quote Wikipedia: "Personal values evolve from situations with the external world and can change over time. His Integrity in the application of values refers to its continuity; persons have integrity if they apply their values appropriately regardless of arguments or negative reinforcement from others. Values are applied appropriately when they are applied in the right area. For example, it would be appropriate to apply religious values in times of happiness as well as in times of despair."
Another definition On Changing Minds.org :"..Values are, in fact powerful drivers of how we think and behave"...."we use different values when we are under stress."
Gurusoftware.com says"A value is a belief, a mission or a philosophy that is meaningful".
Even knowing or reading all of this it may still be difficult to list or define ones own personal values.It's not always easy to sit down & come up with a a basic list that applies solely to our unique selves.
Here's how i start: I figure my values are , bottom-line, how i chose to live my life. They are what guides most of my decisions - good or bad. When i am faced with a decision i will chose A or B, according to what I think is right,what is meaningful to me ,what gives me purpose.The reasons i chose the things i do might relate to my childhood or adulthood , but they are based mainly on experiences.
Example:
I am at a store. The clerk gives me too much change. I , personally, would bring this to the clerks attention. I didnt use to be that way. When i was a teenager i thought"woohoo! free money! hehe!"But after getting ripped off myself a few times in business, i learned that it's not fun to lose hard earned dinero.
On the other hand, this value (honesty) didnt necessarily come only from experiences. When i became a cChristian a few years ago, many of my values changed. I became aware of how my actions affected others and thus make every effort to keep this in focus.I dont always succeed however.
Now for a confession, another example: I am at an all-you -can -eat -buffet(I dont go to these anymore, but i used to). I stand in line behind a morbidly obese person, waiting impatiently for them to stop filling up their plate.Instead of looking the other way, i will stand there rudely rolling my eyes, sighing and tapping my foot while thinking nasty thoughts about their food addiction.
Why would i behave this way? Especially proclaiming to be a better person these days?Off the top of my head i could say that i have a great fear of becoming fat. And that i have been treated rudely by such people myself, as if i should be penalized for being small or thin.Or maybe i'm just vain.But i think deep down it has more to do with values.

I value a healthy body.

In fact i worked very hard to obtain it and even harder to keep it.
Much like those who value holding a job tend to feel towards people on welfare. And they tend to react rudely towards someone cashing a welfare check or using food stamps or begging on the streets for money .The reason this person is is their situation cannot be known in these cases.
But our values are automatic - even if it is only in our thoughts.Even if we mean to behave differently.The value is applied reguardless.
This doesnt mean values cannot change. Any number of stressors or experiences can change our values.If we are in a life or death situation , or have a near death experience, or watch a loved one go through an addiction.I might , say, be absolutely against doing illegal drugs- but if someone put a gun to my head and said "smoke this pot or die"i would of course chose to live.....or if my son developed a crack addiction and i helped him through rehab, i might have more empathy for addicts in general. You just never know.
Overall i think to find your own values it comes down to asking yourself a few questions in any situation :
  • What kind of choices do i have?
  • How is my choice going to make me feel tomorrow?
  • Why am i choosing A over B?
  • If I am uncomfortable with a long held value, why? and
  • What does my choice say about me to others?

Enough said.

That outta keep ya busy for awhile! Peace!

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