Some conversations with a friend today and a podcast I listened to driving home made me think about what values really matter to me. People have different views on the world, with varying levels of faith/religion/spirituality, and are tackling the world in different ways. But whether you’re taking your guidance from Jesus, Buddha or the man next door, something(s) shapes how you act and how you interact with the world. So regardless of any religion/spirituality, what do you value? If you strip it all back, what are your core beliefs?
Remember that dreaded personal portfolio I kept moaning about having to write for my ‘professional skills’ part of my uni course? Well I submitted it almost 2 months ago now (and would really like to know what grade I got for it!!).One section I had to include in the portfolio was ‘My Values’, which I’ve pasted below, and it explains 4 things that are important to me (I should add, it’s a little cheesy and makes me sound like I’m being big headed in places – but I was supposed to be promoting myself in the portfolio!):
One of my most important values is kindness. Everyone we meet is facing battles we know absolutely nothing about. It sounds naïve and simplistic, but there is so much hurt and struggle in the world, and one of the simplest things any of us can do is be kind. Sometimes situations and feelings make it more difficult, but I try my best to always be kind to people. Encourage people. As the quote above says, the world has enough negative critics already, and it is far better to build someone up than push them down.
Another thing I really value is listening. It sounds so simple, and it’s something so many of us think we are good at, but actually we’re often not as good as we think we are. Listening to people, and really hearing what they are saying is more difficult than it sounds. It’s so easy to have a conversation and look like you’re paying attention, when really 10 other things are going through your mind. I’m quite intuitive and I believe I’m good at understanding what people are really saying, and I think it’s really important to listen properly to people.
Other principles I really value are generosity and respect. I’ve grown up with very good examples of generosity from my parents and grandparents, and I think it is something important yet not always easy to remember, particularly in the world we live in at the moment. Generosity in terms of not only money, but also in terms of time is especially important in our ever changing, busy, technology based lives. I think respect is one of the simplest, but most important moral standards to uphold. You don’t always need to agree with people or even get on with them, but showing them respect is just common decency.
Alongside those 4 traits, I also really value loyalty and genuineness. Like my last point says – people are different. We all have different personalities and quirks and views, but respect, kindness, generosity, and genuine interest make for proper relationships. And it’s really not that complicated or difficult when it comes down to it, yet in all manner of places, from workplaces, to supermarkets, to even churches, people forget these basic manners and principles. It particularly irritates me when people who claim to follow Jesus and his examples treat people poorly, knocking them down instead of encouraging and building them up. It’s not right in life in general, but is extra-hypocritical in a church setting. I am in no way perfect, and I am no where near being a perfect Christian, if that standard should exist. My biblical and theological knowledge is terrible and I don’t pray anywhere near as often as I should. But I would like to think that the attititudes I show, the behaviour I display and the way I treat people counts for something. Whether it comes from trying to follow Jesus or not, I would like to thing that by being kind and caring towards people and showing them respect and support, that I’m at least getting some things right.