Values: What are the values you live by?
Values are important to everyone, even if we don't go about proclaiming what they are. You can see by the way people live what their values are and if you share them. Whole suburbs are built around values - what does your street say about the values of your suburb? Do you agree with the crowd?
I am not talking about just the "haves" and "have-not"'s I was from a poor family and we didn't graffiti, vandalize or be disrespectful. Just because a person is poor doesn't mean they can't afford values like integrity, kindness, cleanliness and being charitable towards others. These are just a couple of values, they may not be near the top of everyone's list, but let's look at it.
My son was 21 yesterday and his values were reflected in the way he wanted to celebrate his birthday. Despite peer pressure to go out and get "trashed" he wanted to spend the day eating nachos and spending time with his family. His partner is pregnant so he doesn't drink alcohol, he spent much of the afternoon on the floor with his 1 year old son, watching "The Lion King". His friends came over (drinking) and when they saw the low-key affair, they left pretty much after the cake was cut. Their values are different and they wanted to party.
I watched this scene and was pretty darned amazed. Why? A couple of years ago my son and I clashed over values. He was a teen, he was angry, he wanted to "stick it to the system", and off he went in a cloud of alcohol fuelled testosterone. It broke my heart to watch him making so many poor choices and have life dish up some pretty nasty consequences. Yet here we were, all sober, watching "The Lion King" and eating nachos, while looking over his baby photos. It was awesome!
If you take a moment to really look into what your values are and whether or not you are living by them, you will understand where some of your conflict comes from. If you value peace and quiet and live on the main street, above a restaurant and below a nightclub your values are in conflict and you wont be happy. If you value country living and are living and working in the city, values are in conflict. If you value cleanliness and your family love to shake everything out of the cupboards, it's a source of conflict. Do you value family time? or Honesty? and find yourself unable to live up to your own values? Do you value Privacy and yet find you have none? Respect? yet you are treated like a second class citizen? These are all worthy of taking time to look at.
So what to do about the conflicts? Well, first things first - did you form those values earlier in your life? Do they apply now? Do they serve you? Is it possible that some of the values are actually bad for you? For example, if you value living in the city and having a pressure filled career, yet are truly unhealthy and about to have a stroke, perhaps this is a value you could revise? Is the career climbing sociopath you wanted to be a good thing or have times changed? Does your definition of "freedom" look too much like "hedonistic and selfish"?
Is your definition of that value out of date with where you are at in life? If I ask a teen what "respect" means and then ask someone who is in the twilight of their lives, the definition of "respect" will be different. It's time to fine tune it.
So you fine tune your values and look around at the emotional scenery and think "Holy crap! My life is PERFECT"? Hmmmm, wouldn't that be easy? It's probably not going to be that way, though. More than likely you are going to look around and review some of your choices: people you hang out with, opinions you accept into your life, ways of doing things and this will probably make people think "What is up with you?". There's going to be resistance, perhaps mocking, some friends might drop out of your life, some might challenge you and say you think you are better than them, or being weird or crazy. But this is your Life and your values, and by all means if they have their life in a state of perfection then congratulate them and ask for advice.
Don't scare yourself. Don't automatically think "Well that's it, I am quitting my job and moving to -". If it's not practical you will find yourself hating your new life. Transition is a marvelous thing if it's done right.
So invest the time, look properly at your values, see what the disparity is, work out what would have to change for you to be living in line with your values and then see what compromise might have to happen if it's going to affect more than just you. Don't forget, we take many years to get to where we are, making a small change here and there will take us back to the right course, just keep the goal in sight.