The first thing that comes to mind when I chew on the word value is: Something that is so meaningful that it is priceless.
This might seem very odd, because if a thing is valuable we often connect that with a price-tag, which isn’t too off in a money-driven context. Though in this context value has nothing to do with money or physical objects. Values has everything to do with our self-awareness, self-esteem, self-worth and how we meet the world and everything in it.
Googling definitions of values gives a ton of options, but the first one to stare you in the face is the following from business dictionary.com: «beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad or desirable or undesirable». This definition is not wrong, but it is the foundation for everything that is flawed about our value system from a cultural point of view. We move in a culture and an environment built upon driving our desires to keep capital going, often from an idealistic view. The standard for what we desire is so completely off. Its shallow. Let’s entertain ourselves for a minute: I desire to be happy. The standard for happiness in my culture is to be successful. To be successful is to be rich and famous. To be successful is to be seen, admired and applauded. This might not run true to you, so let’s do another one just to clarify the point that is coming: I want to be happy. The standard for happiness in my group is to be successful. To be successful means to be married and have children by age x. Both of these makes me utterly sad. Not because there’s something wrong with wanting any of these things, but because most of us don’t really understand why we want them.
Values are also defined as «the importance, worth, or usefulness of something». This is also true, but again there is a lack there. I was beginning to lose hope scrolling through paragraph after paragraph in Oxford dictionary when my faith in humanity suddenly came to be reinstalled: «Principles or standards of behavior: one’s judgement of what is important in life».
Wether we like it or not, we do use an inner guidance-system in everything we do: How we treat ourselves, how we meet people, how we set our goals and in how we achieve them. The trouble I encountered was that I had never sat myself down and picked these pieces apart to get a clear view of what the fuck I was doing in life. I flowed with my own (random) and other peoples expectations of me, and even though I have been places and even might have been successful several times in my life in some eyes, I found myself in constant battle for reasons unknown to myself. Climbing a endless ladder in foggy weather. Let me tell you: It’s exhausting. And the fall is great. Everything I struggled for and made important in my life was meaningless. It hurt on so many levels, but the greatest pain of all was reality high-fiveing me in the face: I had no foundation. Air-castles suck! Now, becoming aware of my value system changed all that. I mean, air-castles still suck, but I don’t construct them anymore.
So how do we avoid building air castles without turning into Rainbow-macca-sunshine?
First rule: Undo status.
Second: find your humility.
Third: Jesus was right about one thing: Do to others as you want others to do to you. Stop judging, competing and mistreating others in both spirit and in life.