Living My Values
You guys know that I'm a big fan of Buffer, the social media scheduler, and I love reading their blog posts. One of my favourite ones that they have published is about their values, and the reasoning behind each of them. It made me think more about personal values, and how they shape my life. I know I have them, and try to live by them, but I'd never thought of documenting them before. So I decided to explore what I think my own values are, and I list them here for you today.
Showing Vulnerability Leads To A Stronger Community: I wrote a whole post about vulnerability, and this little nugget has become more and more important to me over the past two years. My life has been enriched since I started being more open about the things I was struggling with to people I trust, and even sometimes people I don't know that well. I can see the appeal of a mask, indeed I spent the worst year of my life trying to maintain a veneer that screamed 'I am coping', but it's hard to maintain and more importantly you won't get the support you need unless you ask for it. The more open I've been about my own vulnerabilities, the more people are open with me and I think that's pretty wonderful.
Good Things Come From Doing What Is Scary: I am scared of a lot. Heights, the ocean, the dark, public speaking, insects, spiders.. you name it, I'm scared of it. But living a life dominated by fear is not really living at all. It started when I did a skydive in New Zealand, because once I've done that I can do anything right?! Moving abroad for university is a piece of cake compared to throwing yourself out of a plane. I haven't always enjoyed the experiences where I've challenged myself, I spent the entirety of my bungee jump in a panic attack and couldn't feel my face or even move when I got to the boat, but I've always been glad I've done them. If there's one thing the past few years has taught me, it's that we don't get braver by staying safe. Courage comes when we realise what we can achieve, whether it be performing poetry in front of people or learning to scuba dive, and gaining bravery is no bad thing.
We Can And Should Choose Positivity: This is definitely not an easy one. Everyone has grumpy days, and self-hatey days, and days when the world just seems grey, but how we respond to that is a choice. This doesn't mean not feeling emotions, because emotions usually demand to be felt and I am a firm advocator of finding safe ways to express them, but it means opting for the more optimistic approach in situations. This can be in a number of ways: assuming good intent when someone has done something hurtful, reframing circumstances to become more okay about them, or just having a good cry and then choosing to do something that I know will make me happy. We have more control over our mood than we know, it just takes effort to harness that.
Not Being Talented Is Not A Reason To Not Be Creative: I was not creative for the longest time. I had always been good at writing essays but not especially astounding at producing things that people would actually want to read. As for my painting/drawing/general art abilities? Well some people never really progress from stick figures... However I took a class in my freshman year that made me realise two things: one) if I actually tried I wasn't as bad as I thought and two) creativity has absolute nothing to do with talent and everything to do with passion and expression! So what if my watercolours will never make a gallery? I enjoy the act of painting and that's all that matters. In fact creativity has become a key part of my self care routine, and I'm so glad I introduced it back into my life.
Always Be Kind, Especially To Yourself: The world can always use more kindness, and I don't know why we should have double standards about ourselves. I am downright horrible to myself sometimes, and the only person I'm hurting is me! Also random acts of kindness from strangers is my favourite thing to witness and be a part of. There's something about an act of kindness that makes everyone involved feel warm and fuzzy. A little kindness can go a long way towards creating a happier world, so let's start putting it into practise shall we?
So these are the little phrases I'm choosing to live by. I'm sure they'll adapt over time but it was an interesting experience mapping out why each of them is important to me, and I urge you to devote a little time to thinking about what matters.
What do you think your values are?