This has been an issue I have really struggled with. How they fit in to my life, how to apply them, what rules to apply and how I know when a rule has been broken.
A few weeks ago I was asked to make a list of 50+ values. I struggled, dear reader, I struggled! In the end I cheated and downloaded a long list off the Internet and then deleted the ones I didn’t feel strongly about!!
But I still struggle. I can’t get them in any sort of order at all – never mind changing the order for different situations. But I am assured by my LC that this is the key to everything.
Then – without expecting it – a minor breakthrough occurred in the form of an email from one of the readers of this blog. And I do now have his permission to write about this:
He told me about an incident in his youth when he was sharing a house with a woman – on a strictly house share arrangement – like so many of us do when we are starting out in life. They became friends – as one does. But sex was categorically not on the agenda. She was in fact engaged to someone else. Then one night they got drunk and ended up in bed together.
The next paragraph is basically his own – I have just removed the names and changed I to He: He told me how:
He struggled with it afterwards, her fiancé never found out, and they only were together that one night. He felt so guilty, it put a wall up, where there once was a budding friendship, they sort of threw it all away. He started drinking more often dealing with the guilt and bullshit in his head, and soon after she moved out. He stayed in the place making the payment for about three months and then moved.
And what is amazing about this confession is how I responded to it. I understood how he had broken a fundamental value he held high on his values list . He had broken the rule he had set for that value. And – as far as I can gather – he never behaved this way again. He reinforced the rule by which he wanted to live and did so.
I reminded him: He was young. It happened once. It was good it happened as he learnt so much from it. She had more issues to deal with than he did.
I am so glad he told me as for me it has been such a help in understanding how values are key to our lives, how we must live by them and the rules we set or we won’t and can’t be who we really are. And how we lose respect for ourselves if we don’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t think I’ve cracked it by any means. But, thanks to this reader, I’ve had a glimmer of understanding.