Where Do We Get Our Value From?

Yesterday was rather interesting. I was about 150 miles from home and had a little work left before I could actually take some time off. I woke up early (about 4 a.m.) before I started my day.

I went into the restaurant and saw a bunch of people around the counter. All were talking about politics (a topic I really like but try to keep off of here) and the local state of the economy. I didn't engage in the conversation but just listened and observed the people in the conversation.

It dawned on me that some of these people actually do not know what they are talking about. Not just my own political beliefs, but not even the opposing sides. So that got me thinking. Yes I agree, it's a dangerous thing indeed.

If I had engaged in the discussion I would have missed my observation.

It came to me that people in general harness their value from single source. When that source is attacked or disappears people become lost.

Let's take a Firefighter for instance. An admirable trade that many would not want to do. Going into a fire goes against survival instinct and it's a horrible way to die. Yet, these people do it for a living to save others.

So, this firefighter garners his/her value from firefighting. Everyone knows what they do. Someone asks "what do you do?" and this person stands straight and tall, or gets a great smile and says "I'm a firefighter." All of their personal value is in that single trade. BUT...

What happens if that value is ******** from them for some reason. Layoff, accident, new technology, etc. that makes it impossible for this person to continue to be a firefighter? Where does this person get their value from?

That is what I saw in this conversation that was happening. Many of the people in this conversation consider themselves to be "experts" in politics. Yet, even in the basic sense they were completely wrong in every understanding of government on both sides of the argument. When those who knew the argument started to explain and tear down their views these people got real defensive. Their value was being ******** away.

After I left I started to analyze what why that was. Here is what I came up with.

Take a sheep of paper and draw a square in it. Then in that square write down where you get most of your value from. It can be anything. Sport, hobby, trade, a skill, anything that you the most of your value from. Your reason for being.

Now add more squares around that square and fill those in with other places you get value from. If you can't think of anything then you may in trouble such as our Firefighter. Your life is unbalanced.

If a person only has one area in which to gain value for their life and no other areas then when that single area is taken away they feel like they are useless. Like they have no reason for living. It becomes a vicious cycle of trying to find another source of value since they do not have others viable sources already in place.

I also think there are three levels in which value exists. The three levels are how others see our value within us.

The first level is the simplest level. It's the outer expression we show everyone. A smile means we are happy. A handshake means we are welcoming, etc. This we can fake to everyone around us.

"Oh no I'm fine." He said with a smile. While inside he was tearing himself up over his loss.

Think of this. We only get 5% of the information we need from meeting a person for the first time. If they are well dressed and mannered then we believe that their whole life is tidy, organized, and exciting.
We take our 5% and fill in the other 95% we don't see. That brings us to the next level.

Our life as we live it. If the outer expression we show does not match how we actually live the we are out of balance. Our Firefighter shows he/she is a firefighter and also lives that life. However that is his whole life and nothing else exists.
This is a danger on two levels. First the value I talked about.
Second. If your outer expression doesn't match your life then people will see you as a fake. They will feel cheated and lied to. If you meet someone and you like them, or they like you, eventually they will/or want to see how you live.
This is much harder to fake than the first level.

The third level. This level resides totally within ourselves. It is how we view ourself and derive our basis for existing. If this does not match the other two other levels then we have a house of cards. Eventually other people will see this side of us. It can take days, weeks, or years.
Ever been a friend to someone and one day realized they just were not the person you thought they were? Ever think about it and realized they were always like that but you just could not pinpoint the reason or feeling?

This third level is where people need to look into the mirror and like themselves. Without liking yourself and gaining value from other areas of your life then your life will be out of balance. One level, such as level two, being out of balance or genuine with level one or three will make you feel as though things are just not right. Could be that you don't have a job you really like, or took up a hobby that you just really can't get behind. Therefore you just don't gain value from it.

The other squares you drew. If you don't gain value from your friends you may need new friends or need to be more sincere with them. If you don't gain value from hobbies. You may need to get a hobby, or change them. Everything you do may need to reevaluate it to see if it gives you some kind of value so that you totally depend upon just area of your life.

Just a few things I thought of and how they pertain to myself and my own life.
Knighted Knighted
36-40, M
6 Responses Jul 24, 2010

True, value is placed on us by other people. It is defined differently by each person we meet. Being a Father could mean different things based upon those peoples lives. You could be a father to a child(ren), a Catholic priest, a high ranking fraternal elder.<br />
It is a reason we must garner value from ourself and from many sources equally.

great post, as ussual!

Nittle, we think along the same lines. If we gain our value from external sources only and not internally then we risk being ******** of our values.

I like your post! It really had me thinking about the psyche of people in general. I think similar to the way you have shown in this post. I tend to be more of an analytical type of thinker vs an emotional type.<br />
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Here's my own observation to what you've said...<br />
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If one defines themselves by extrinsic values, whether singular or plural, then they are just as much at risk of being ******** of their self worth as the next person. You don't have to be a firefighter or a political ignoramus to have this happen to you. One should find meaning from within; any healthy person would be able to adjust accordingly and appropriately to whatever loss, a resource or a job/career, if they did. Although we tend to sway towards defining ourselves by groups ("firefighter", daughter, football pla<x>yer, fashionista, popular, etc.) it's only natural and automatic on a subconscious level. If one can recognize that these are only external attributions that have only helped create their personality and values instead of actually defining oneself by them, then everyone would be in a much happier place...More enlightened at least.

I certainly hope that this descision was not based on this post. That was not what I was intending to say.

The only thing I have going on that is fake in my life is my marriage,,,and I am fixing that either he changes his wicked ways or he is not going to stay married to me,,,,I say that I am Mary the Mother of Jesus,,,,and if I really believe that one,,,than I am suppose to be married to God,,,and GLM is a very sad mirror and I am sick of showing the side of me that is not real,,,and that is angry at everything,,,,When I desided what I was going to do about this diseption I got peace,,,and a clear picture on what to do,,,I refuse to be married to a lie,,,,the world is so full of lies,,,I will not be fooled ever again by any man on this planet,,,so if there are any real ones out there they are going to have to show the real power before I take any more on,,,,have to walk though the fire now,,,Love and Light Mary