A series of articles written by Dr. Gelbart for the Northern California Psychiatric Society Newsletter. These articles are a bit more “technical” than others on this blog, but they can help anyone interested in how mindfulness, positive psychology, Wellness approach, and skills training can help with self-esteem, anxiety, depression, motivation, and other difficulties. It may help you in choosing a therapist, and/or bring up questions for discussion with your therapist or friends.
Values and Priorities
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that is your own self.”
Do you have values? What are your values? If you have a choice between sticking to your values, or pleasing someone else, which do you choose? Which is more important for you, being accepted, or doing what you believe is right? Examples of values which you might believe in would be honesty, independence, compassion, treating others with respect, living by The Golden Rule, trying not to hurt others, and contributing to society and the world. Make your own list. It has to be your own, not mine, not your mother’s or father’s. It doesn’t mean that we’ll be perfect at it, but it becomes a guideline or template for our action choices. When you think about PAEJO, “what outcome do I want?,” your values will be an important guideline. You can’t control if other people will like you. But you can control your choice of actions, through mindfulness, being present, being aware of your doubts, fears, and judgements from childhood, and choosing actions which fit your values.
Many people live life by the Reverse Golden Rule, (“RGR”). We often see the world as “dog-eat-dog,” everyone out for themselves. So the belief is “people will treat me selfishly” and the RGR goes “Treat other people the way you expect them to treat you. This is also known as the “screw-’em” rule.
You can choose for yourself, and you can choose what you value in others. I have found that the “Golden Rule” rather than the RGR has brought me better relationships, and friends who similarly respect my feelings.
One of the important ways that The Potent Mind works is by helping you create a new space inside. When you start to let go of your judgments, and your fears of other people’s judgments, it will leave you with some emptiness. When you consider your values, your needs, your strengths and weaknesses, and what gets your juices flowing, you will begin to imagine new possibilities for your life. Follow your passions. Develop your values. Build your character traits. Use your strengths. Face your weaknesses and shore them up, with help where needed.
We’re a work in progress.
Here are some character traits and values that I have put together. You may not agree with all of them– you have to work out your own. We’ll never live up to all of them all the time but they are goals we set that can guide our choices of action.
Mind Gem #6: Determine your values and priorities and use these as your guides for action. Determine the character traits you value and develop them in yourself.