We all value different things. I’ve met plenty of people who value monetary gain, promotion, and materialistic possessions. I can say I was the same way to a degree. I believed in these things because they were the only thing I knew. As I strived for the things I was thought I was supposed to have, the more they would either betray my confidence in them, or I just would no longer care. It’s interesting to see how people react to my actions because they don’t necessarily align with popular belief.
I believe, too often, we do things because other people do it. We join the club for no other reason than maybe acceptance. The problem is everyone’s solution may not be our solution. I hesitate on just about everything that seems to be a blanket statement about human beings.
The keto diet is a very popular diet, but I don’t think that diet is for everyone as it may claim. I believe people should only adopt a diet, or any other popularly held belief if it fits their own criteria for their body. That means learning about your body and giving it the nutrients it needs. The keto diet is a very fat and protein dominated diet. My particular body is prone to high cholesterol. My body also produces a high amount of B12. If I were to eat a steak everyday, I’d be putting my body in jeopardy of heart problems. Being more intentional with your decisions starts with learning about yourself. Knowing yourself is knowing your values and allowing them to guide you. If not, you’ll be headed in anyway that the tide of popularity takes you.
How do values help you live more intentionally?
Our values serves as our internal compass. They are also what guide our decisions, whether you are aware of them or not. If you value money, prestige, and position, it’ll show in how you handle your work. It’ll show in whether you choose working late to finish the project, or spending time with children. If you haven’t intentionally set values for yourself, you’re going to be finding yourself gravitating to the values set by other people. Your happiness, your fulfillment, your identity, will all be contingent on other people. If someone doesn’t see your value, you will believe them only because you don’t know what it is.
So the question is, would you want to live a life that is true to you, or live a life you think you’re supposed to live based on the perceptions of others? You are the one living your life. No person should be in the driver seat for you. The crazy thing about having your own values and making your own decisions is that you’re going to start to steer yourself away from popular convention. I hope that you would be saying no, more times that you say yes. Your yes’s should be intentional and your no’s should be anything that doesn’t align with who you are.
That means that there are going to be tough decisions to make. There will also be consequences that won’t feel so great in the short-term. It’s a very narrow road, but it’s your road. I think that’s the fear of choosing yourself. If you make a decision that goes against everyone else’s conventional thinking, you might be ostracized. Think of it this way. Both ways is a path to suffering, but one is longer than the other. You’re either suffering because you are misaligned with your being, or you’re suffering because the love you once received was conditional.
What are your values?
I don’t believe in having a whole list of values because when there are too many options, we end up choosing none. I have two values love and justice. To simplify, I want to live a life that allows me to be an unconditional lover. It’s a very difficult value, but this is the type of person I see as successful. Unconditional love is being able to see the good in everything and being able to forgive when something is done in the wrong. When I speak of justice, it’s more for others, not necessarily myself. I want to be vocal for injustices, especially injustices done against marginalized communities.
My decision making is pretty easy. I’m a true believer that every choice we make is between fear and love. I choose (or I try to choose) love every time. Even when the decision is hard. Yes, even when the decision makes no sense to other people. When it comes to lifting up marginalized communities, I will choose to promote minorities, LGBTQIA communities, sex workers, the homeless, and disabled people over the dominant culture. I won’t tolerate in justice to these groups of people and will use my voice to try to get justice in any of these cases. There’s a reason why you see diversity in the images you see for these blog posts.
Values may change over time
Be sure to be flexible with your values. I think I’m going to keep mine for a very long time. I understand evolution is always a factor and people do change. The values you have will be your guiding light. It’ll be your compass that will take you to where you need to be. You will not be perfect in following your values. There might be a decision where fear of perception makes us do something that isn’t who we are. That’s okay. We’re bound to make mistakes. We call that practice. You learn from the mistake, and you make sure that if the same choice happens again, you’ll know what to do.