Dr. Val Farmer
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Seven Values To Shape Your Life

July 21, 2008

Here are seven values, if really lived, that can make a difference in your life.

1. The value of learning. Whatever your dilemma, challenge, or goal, the knowledge you need isn't far from you. The world is full of people who know what you need to know. Be teachable and humble.

The advances with telecommunications and computers make this information even more available. Be curious. Delight in learning the truth of this world. This is an age of opportunity - a wonderful time to be alive.

2. The value of purpose. Know who you are and where you are going. A vision of what you want your life to be like will help make it happen. The world has many needs. Make a difference. Develop and enjoy your unique talents.

Challenge yourself. Love what you do for its own sake. Take pleasure in creating and accomplishing. Couple your vision with hard work, focus and determination. Strive for excellence. Energy and persistence are more important than the talent you bring to your quest. Judge your performance by your own standards, not public approval.

Don't be lulled into complacency or distracted by that which is unimportant. The world has many values and goals that will tempt you to stop short of where you really want to be. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from them.

3. The value of integrity. Have the courage of your convictions. Stand for what is right, even if it costs you something. Have the courage to stand apart from the crowd. By their very nature, bold ideas will be ahead of their time. Face the social pressure that comes when you find yourself alone - alone with the truth, alone with your beliefs, alone with your values.

It takes courage to be honest. Personal integrity is the bedrock virtue under all other virtues. Be accountable for your choices. Be true to your convictions, the causes you espouse and the responsibilities you bear. Honor your promises and word.

4. The value of faith. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. You will be forced to grow and adapt to new circumstances. Be flexible and resilient.

Losses are painful and hard to bear. Life isn't always easy or fair. It is not what happens to you that matters, but how you respond. You need a faith that sustains you during adversity and to help you come to terms with mortality. Faith gives meaning and purpose to what you do. If you know a "why," you can endure. Be prayerful. Seek knowledge about the divine and from the divine.

Armed with your faith, laugh at yourself and at life. A sense of humor is a defense against being overwhelmed by the seriousness of life's setbacks and losses.

5. The value of choice. Your mind is enormously capable. You can project yourself into the future. This ability is both a gift and a curse. It is a gift because you can control, to an extent, what happens to you. You can work toward worthy goals. Your life can have excitement and anticipation.

It is a curse because you do not live in the future but only in the present. The world around you is endlessly beautiful and fascinating. People are important. There are sunsets to see, food to taste, children to hold. Be alive. Use your senses. There is much to be learned and enjoyed from the moment as well as the anticipation of the future.

Keep your thoughts and actions above the filth and sleaze of this world. Be wise in choosing your friends and companions.

The ability to focus and commit your attention wholly and completely is a form of love - an act of choosing what you value and what is worthy of you. What you choose to give your attention to is a faithful measure of what you really value.

6. The value of cooperation. Join with others. Be a team player. Be a contributing member of the community, a team, or an organization that brings people together in a common cause. Blend your talents and share your concerns with others.

To do this, you'll need to communicate well, share your vision, value other's ideas, learn from them, recognize and appreciate them, and take their needs and concerns into account. Differences can be strengths. By working with others, everyone's efforts, including your own, will be magnified.

7. The value of love. Learning to love is the most important value. A secret to happiness is being able to free oneself from the chains of self and really love others. It is a daring, risky thing to do.

Give love. Meet needs. Put others first. Be thoughtful, kind and considerate. Learn to listen and you'll learn from another's heart. People can't resist love. Serve others and you'll lighten your own burdens.

Show gratitude. Give thanks generously for what you have. Express appreciation to those who do you a favor or assist you in any way.

Relationships take time and sacrifice. Good communication deepens relationships and resolves differences. It is a skill that can be developed. In our competitive, materialistic society, it is too easy to short change relationships for the sake of self-centered goals.

Time is precious. Life is precious. You are precious. Live your life based on true values and principles and happiness will flow to you as a by-product of the way you live.