Growing up, every child becomes immune to their parents spouting wisdom and advice in their direction. By the time we reach 15 we think we know it all and our parents were born yesterday. However, as I’m about to turn 21, I’ve been reflecting more and more on what my parents have taught me. 2016 has been a challenging year with a lot of unexpected twists thrown my way, some wonderful and some trying. It’s in times like these when life seems to be either really fulfilling or very difficult that I have to remind myself of something my father has instilled in me from a very young age.
As a child, my father would always stress the importance of values. It seems like such a simple concept. He would tell my brothers and I that as long as we had a strong set of values that we truly believed in and held ourselves to every day, then we would be successful, happy, good people. Isn’t that what we all want? When I was younger I didn’t put much thought into the concept of values and how important they are. However, as I get older I look around at the world and it’s mind boggling how many people seem to overlook this.
This past year it has become very clear just how important values need to be in my life. By following things such as honesty, kindness and positivity I can feel good about the outcome of any situation. My father taught me that having values is crucial because they act as guidelines that help us distinguish right from wrong in sticky situations. Values prevent us from reacting to situations in ways we might later regret and help us to respond instead.
It’s such a basic concept, yet 2016 has proven to me just how many people are lacking values in their lives. We witness people reacting to situations with violence, malice and jealousy every day. People are constantly hurting themselves and others. Why is there so much hatred in the world? Could one reason be because people are lacking such a basic principle? Values are what you believe in above anything else no matter what. If someone doesn’t believe in anything, or at least in anything positive, then how could they possibly make good decisions?
It seems some people have great values instilled in them; however, some of us have to work a little harder. I encourage you to make a list of the things you value in order to be a good person and live a happy life. It will be different for everyone. Put the list in a place where you will see it everyday so you can be reminded of what’s most important to you. When you’re in a tough spot, look at the list and hopefully it can guide you to respond rather than react. Before you know it, you won’t even need your list anymore.
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