I wrote previously about values, talking about keeping the curtains open so the burglar couldn’t operate without being seen from the street. A new awareness has grown in me recently about values, especially those that have scant regard for them. Sometimes when we run courses we have the groups define the values that they will live by for the duration of the course. This is a useful check on behaviours and like everything we do on-course, something the participants can take back to home and work.
But what about our own values? Do we write a list of them and make sure we’re living by them? I doubt it and here’s why. They’re deep inside. The true values are us. Like not defining ourselves, we don’t need to record, define or articulate them to ourselves. But like the burglar who sneaks into the curtained back street office to steal valuables, we need to make sure the curtains are open on our values. By stealth and manipulation, others less attracted to a value-centred life will rip them out if it suits them when you are vulnerable.
So why am I on about this now? In the last month several people we know have been in vulnerable positions financially. This is not uncommon now with the economy in a fragile state and business tight in many sectors. They have, each of them, been separately manipulated into positions through rumour and misinformation where they have had to make business decisions in order to survive. These are decisions that they do not wish to make, they are decisions that go against their own values, but they’ve done it to survive.
I can understand people in dire circumstances of famine commiting offences to feed their family. We see that often in Tsunamis, hurricanes and the like. All is lost and survival hangs by a thread. I do not know the personal circumstances of the people sufficiently to judge whether or not that might be their situation. And I won’t judge. But what I see is sad.
When you allow your values to be stolen for money you better hope that you can afford to buy some more from somewhere else. I don’t reckon the thief will give you any back. Trouble is though, money can’t buy values. Strange isn’t it – you can sell them, but can’t buy them.
How do you value your values?