Values are tricky. We all have them, some of us are completely ruled by them and have them forged into our psyches forever, others are more adaptable with their values. They can change with us, change us or even ruin us.
We get them from our families, our work, our environment, our friends, TV (yikes!) and, of course, religion.
I definitely have pretty firm values on some subjects and far more loosey-goosey on others. Not lying is probably the firmest one I have. I suck ass at lying and finding out that I've been lied to is usually the best and most lasting way to invoke my ire, or, at least, make me lose respect. But that's me. Others are far better at coping with dishonesty, but not, for example, insensitivity. Or bad hair... All depends on your values!
I'd say that for me, most of my values are taken from the Catholic upbringing I had, highly flavoured by the Blue Skies community-building experience, and continuously refined by the people and events around me.
It's hard to articulate the vast array of values that we have as people, especially since they're variable. I'm far more aware of the need to be direct, honest, compassionate and sweet to my Mom or a girlfriend or a child than some guy at the bar. And really, is it necessary for us to always have to say "This is important to me"? Every one of us are going to come up against situations where our values are tested. And sometimes we don't uphold them for the sake of necessity.
Likewise, how do we determine the line where not sharing certain values excludes people? I know mine: haters need not apply. And I don't mean 'haters' in the vein of hipsters and others who make a lifestyle of mockery, I mean REAL haters. Racists, sexists, weightists, homophobes, etc... (and I say this as an ex-hater - I used to have major homophobia issues). That also includes misandronists. I dislike other men enough as it is! So, yeah, that's a hard and fast value that probably will never change and my values and haters' values make it so that, if I knew these were a person's values, I would want nothing to do with them.
On the flip side, I am a fervent pacifist. And yet, I have tremendous respect for soldiers. I am surrounded by ex-military folks at my job and I think they're pretty effing cool. Yeah, our politics will probably be at opposite end of the spectrum, but how can you not respect someone who risks their life for a living? So, my pacifist values are probably not as firm as my anti-hater values. Especially true when watching wrestling...
Now, I was in a relationship with someone who liked to reinforce that we had very different values and I think that difference was the driving force behind it not working out. Which begs the question: Are similar values necessary for successful relationships? And, if so, how is it that we can fall in love with people who have such different values? If anyone can find the answer for that sucker, please tell me! There are a lot of avoided fights right there!
All this to say that values are kind of a pain in the butt! Maybe that's why sociopaths have it so together... um, wait a sec...
July 3 2010
Told to be yourself,
Promised love and acceptance
What the mirror is telling you
Is never explained
So, you're either wearing a shield
Or a really intricate mask (and it is lovely, isn't it?)
But eventually the flecks of consciousness
This is who you are,
This list, this sum
Of how your universe should unfold, and
How others' should be unfolding alongside you.
'Of course you should value this, why wouldn't you?'
Then you learn the universal value we all share:
No one likes being told what to believe.