6. a value map

Values are an important map to identity and our impact in the world.  They underly what an individual thinks is important which theoretically drive their action.  Their problem is that many people say they value something but unconsciously act in ways that undermine them.  It’s an interesting and entirely human phenomenon.  We all believe we are good values-driven people, yet we don’t always act with goodness at heart. You hate it when you get caught in the values trap, integrity is important to everyone. Never mind that “good” has an entirely different criteria for many people and cultures.

Value, in our society, is intrinsically linked to money. Our economic transactions reveal a lot; both the ones we make and the ones we abstain from. Sure, there are essential expenses, but even those reveal your values.  You choose to support another cause when you hand your money over but you also choose to support what you value, or maybe you are supporting something you don’t value and didn’t really think about it.

You pay your bills and taxes to support your need for integrity, citizenship, consistency.

You buy art from local artists and books from authors because you want to support creativity and handmade ideas over the ease and price of manufactured prints and plastic replicas.

You choose an expensive smart phone and data plan over a simple phone with text to support the need for the convenience of having a mini-computer at your fingertips, the instant notifications, the state of the art communication tools over saving a little money for an extra cause, the organic meat, or a gym membership.

When you buy a luxury new third car you buy convenience, status and the occasional ease of having extra transportation over other luxuries like a vacation, a home remodel, or even a generous gift to a charity.

You choose debt for more indulgences, or education, or maybe a new house and you trade off the freedom of having money free for the future.

You buy and eat the candy to support a sweet tooth, the sugar rush, instant gratification, a little enjoyment and trade-off long term health, your teeth and even the delayed gratification of losing a few pounds and maybe feeling good.

You buy something from Amazon for convenience, speed and price over the field trip to support the local business owner’s store, the ensuing hunt and the maybe more expensive price.

These are choices that reveal you to you.  Look at your transactions closely instead of spending unconsciously. Honestly assess the values that pave the trail your money leaves as it leaves you. They are clues to you and, if you want a more meaningful or purposeful lifestyle, clues to making small changes to do just that.

(C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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