Have someone asked you what your values are? I can’t even remember the last time I was asked that question. According to mind tools, “Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.” But life is not always easy. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves how much pain and struggles can take before saying I had enough.
When we enter into relationships or decide to stay in our relationship, many people use the excuse I am with her or him for the kids. So I am asking you to ask yourself, what are your values? Because we tend to forget that the decisions that we make reflect on the people around us. Our kids, nieces, nephews, and other little ones watch our every move. Have you ever just sat down and taken a good look at your life and realized some of your bad relationships are due to what you see your mother or father go through or do?
At some point, you have to unlearn what you learn and take responsibility for your life. Many of us want to blame the world or anybody for our decisions and actions. But we cannot. Yes, we get tired! We are tired of the crap that goes on in the economy. We don’t know what we should value and believe anymore. We want to value the American Dream, but sometimes that means the mistreatment of another race. And the acknowledgment which seems to be acceptable to the masses. But let me ask you, do we truly believe in the “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill? If we trust God, don’t you think we would value human life more? People and companies are so obsessed with the dollar they make life a struggle to survive.
Let me ask you another question.
What does spirituality mean to you? Is it “the sum total of your cultural values and sacred beliefs,” as Neal Donald Walsch defines it in his book Tomorrow’s God? Suppose we all start figuring out our cultural values and beliefs for ourselves. In that case, we will be on the right path toward a better life, a more purposeful life. You will be able to make the right decisions that will benefit you. Especially in this racist climate we still find ourselves in today. Black people still are being murdered due to people’s racist beliefs and behaviors. We must continually ask ourselves, is this racist behavior going to benefit us in the long run or hinder us? Even if you don’t consider yourself racist, ask yourself if this behavior I am involved in will hinder me or benefit me. We decide on what we believe in every day, whether we realize it or not.
I remember during a vacation time with a friend, she wanted me to entertain her friend, friend. We have been in a similar situation where your friend is on a date, so you go to entertain their friend. However, because I was dating someone, I said no. The person and I didn’t even end up together. It was the principal; I valued respect, loyalty, and honesty.
If I wanted him to be loyal to me while he was on vacation with a friend, I had to pay him the same respect. I didn’t want to have to lie. Sometimes it is easy to lie, even when you don’t have to. Even when you tell yourself you don’t want to hurt his or her feelings. Not recognizing or ignoring the fact that it is going to hurt regardless. These are the little decisions that define your spiritual self. Bob Marley said, “The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.” Our experiences dictate what we believe in and value. We hate to admit that fact because of the pain and struggles we sometimes go through in the lesson. But sometimes, it can just come with a conversation with your parents, friends, co-workers, child, boss, teacher, or pastor. The lesson can come from anyone; you just have to be open to the experience.
Therefore, I say all this to say:
- Don’t worry about things you cannot change. Work on what you can change to better your life.
- Write down everything you value and is essential to you and live by it. Understand that as tough get older, some of your values will change. It is okay.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and understand that you cannot control anyone else’s actions, only your own. You are worth being truly loved.
- Decide what love means to you. We all believe we understand love, but we are just test dummies trying to figure it out.
- Define American Dream for you and your partner. We have all seen how we all get sold on a lie. You think buying a luxury condo in a good neighborhood. However, it is a one-bedroom box in a bad neighborhood. Stop believing in the fantasy life you see on tv. Get realistic! Deal with what you can afford and prepare yourself for a better life.
- When things happen that anger you, learn from them and let it go! Don’t hold on to unnecessary anger because all it does is hinders you.
Note that our purpose in life is to learn and get to know ourselves. But we do this by interacting with other people through our troubles, struggles, pain, loved ones, friends, and family. Like the lord says, in 1 corinthians 13, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” You have to decide for yourself what things you value. Because it’s about becoming who you are.