I hold my personal values very close to me. I’m traditional in a lot of ways and I’ve come to realize that not many people still see more old-fashioned principles as meaningful. I’m not going to get into specifics right now (though you can read one example from last year here), but I want to take this post to emphasize that you can’t let anyone influence what you believe is right.
I’ve gotten a lot of judgment for what I think are important principles, but I refuse to let that influence how I live my life. It’s important to understand what you value because those personal values are what guide you. You don’t have to find every cliche in the book or adopt the noblest of ideals if those aren’t truly you; you just have to sit down with your priorities and see how they line up with what you believe should be held to high standards.
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything” –Alexander Hamilton
If you have no morals to stand on, what’s keeping you grounded? What’s keeping you from straying away from yourself and following a road you later realize you don’t want to go down? These principles stay in the back of your mind whether you realize it or not and guide your life decisions. They influence who you end up with 20 years down the road, how you have fun, how you serve others, and where you are geographically and professionally. They impact your relationships with your family and friends and how well you do in school. They’re there at late night 2am food runs and they’re present at 2 in the afternoon between classes. No matter where you are, you take your values with you.
If you feel lost in life, take a step back and reevaluate what got you where you’re currently standing; see what decisions got you there and how they line up with what you value. I know what I believe is right, both in an ethical sense and a this-is-what-is-proper sense. Because I know what I believe and why I believe them, I stand by my principles and don’t try and hide them. I commit myself to these decisions because I have confidence in what I place high value on.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” -Brene Brown
My daily Shine text (referral link) this morning couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It was all about swapping “I can’t” with “I don’t.” This is not only a form of self-care, but is an empowering way of taking control over your actions and your refusals. “It turns a rejection into an affirmation of how we live our lives” and puts you back on top of what you believe in.
Say you’re invited to a party and you really don’t like partying. Instead of saying “I’m so sorry, I can’t make it” and scrambling to come up with some fake excuse each time, all you have to say is “I don’t party.” You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone if you don’t want to. Avoiding the typical college party environment is a part of what you want your life experience to be like and that is completely okay.
It doesn’t bother me that most people don’t necessarily agree with my principles; many involve time, commitment, integrity, and personal connection, all of which I think a lot of people nowadays don’t prioritize (but that’s an issue for another post). You have to be able to brush off judgment on what you believe is how you should lead your life. I know it can be hard to stop worrying what other people think (believe me, I still haven’t figured that out), but if you spend so much time thinking about how to change to fit societal expectations, you’re cheating yourself out of happiness. It’s your life to live and don’t let anyone try and change who you are.
~What are your most important values?