Values (pt. 1)
Every human is born with a very precise set of information and coding that allows them identity truth from lies. This special set also allows us to discern between good and bad. When we speak about this information and coding we usually use terms such as morality, charity, authenticity, stability, responsibility and a host of other character traits that are understood to be good and helpful to ourselves. All of us, no matter where we may find ourselves, no matter what our upbringing all have something that draws us towards people that are sincere. We want them as friends, neighbors, bosses and employees.
Values are what drive humanity. Values drive our desire to research the world around us, to learn more about the sciences, to experience life and develop new inventions that can contribute and provide help. There’s no doubt that all of the technologies we have in our day have come to fruition due to values.
But values have inspired much more than technology. They’ve touched men and women over the ages throughout the world to provide significant contributions to help provide liberty, freedom, flexibility, entertainment, spirituality, unconditional love and opportunity.
Values are something that ties us together. It is greater than culture and the color of our skin. Values transcend political ideology, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, nationality and language. Values are indeed part of our genetic composition of our neurons; they are not produced, developed or brainwashed into our brains. Experiences we have throughout our lives continue to register archives within the cortex of our brain, bringing these values to the surface.
All of this information allows us to be able to choose for ourselves when we’re put in a position to make a choice. Values provide us with the necessary instruments to choose for ourselves. Both good and bad decisions create a series of chemical and electric reactions in the brain. This current of information affects the rest of the body either positively or negatively. Additionally, whenever we make a choice there is a physical change that happens in the brain, as new neural connections are made. These connections create our perceptions of the world that we live in. In a very real sense through our actions and thoughts we create our own individual worlds that we live in.
Whenever we make good decisions, based on the values that each of us are encoded with, we feel peace, security, confidence, a sense of value, love, calm, an increased desire to learn and become creative. By contrast when we make bad decisions that go against our encoded values we feel internal conflict, confusion, doubt, anger, resentment, insecurity, stress, indifference, hostility and physical and mental fatigue. It doesn’t matter how old we are or the status of our current health, every time we make a good or bad decision, the brain sends signals to the rest of the body which define and dictate our mood and emotion.
The decisions we make define our priorities and values. The combination of our priorities and values are the materials that make up our personality and character. If our values are no balanced, we can suffer from deep personal conflicts that affect our ability to develop and grow, including how we view the world, how we perceive others and how we interpret what we hear and see. This brings a lack of equilibrium and we begin to see and treat things in a disparate and unrealistic fashion. The inability to see things as a whole and as they really are, is damning to our progression. Instead of growing and learning we end up feeling like victims. We begin taking on traits that lead us to be controlling and unnecessarily dominant. We deny the reality of how we feel and start becoming suspicious of everybody. We lose our natural affection towards others and become jealous, distrusting and even hateful of those that we don’t know that well.
These negative emotions and feelings are nothing more than a defense mechanism. Unfortunately it’s a mechanism that doesn’t work and doesn’t provide us with physical or mental health. In fact this mechanism ends up doing quite the opposite. When we disillusion ourselves there are real damaging consequences that go beyond our relationships with others. There is direct damage that takes place with the body – specifically with the immune, digestive and endocrine systems. Important glands such as the pineal gland are damaged. The brain also begins creating the wrong amount of neurotransmitters, leading to imbalance in communication within the body. Emotionally, we begin to see chronic stress in the form of perfectionism, hyperactivity, apprehension, constant worry or the inability to say no.
Bad decisions have the ability to evolve into habits that become difficult for us to individually observe or recognize. All bad decisions create some level of pain or agony. When we feel this, there are always two choices to make. We can either reconcile the decision we’ve made or we can hide our decision and problem. The second choice always appears to be the easiest. However it always ends up being the most difficult because although we may try, we can never really hide from ourselves.
Hiding from our selves requires a lot of work, including deception. It also requires that we fabricate our experiences and feelings, creating unreal thoughts. This fabrication is necessary anytime somebody wants to hide from themselves because the limbic part of our brain needs to receive information to justify our decisions. It really is interesting how we’re able to provide our brain with fantastical and deceitful ideas as we try to provide enough evidence to remove the truth that our brain has already captured. Much of this time we bring in others as part of the process to validate our new innocent view of self. We often end up sacrificing them as we badmouth or gossip about them to friends, co workers, family members and neighbors in an effort to validate our “new truth.” Justification always requires the reinforcement of others so that we can feel good about ourselves.
The sad part of the justification process is that we often pervert our genetically encoded values by using them to plead our case before our minds. We begin holding ourselves above others and feelings of being better or self righteous can become part of our character. We begin doing the right things for the wrong reasons. These masquerades however don’t make the truth disappear. They provide a temporary relief while in the moment, but do not calm our minds and souls when we have to face ourselves in the mirror. This combination masquerading is the cause of chronic stress.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Dieter Uchtdorf. Referring to life he said that too often we act like we are cars in “an automobile showroom – a place to put ourselves on display so that others can admire our spirituality, capacity or prosperity.” Life he says is actually more like “a service center, where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation.”
We’re all in need of reparation, maintenance and rehabilitation. Life is meant to be a place where we grow. Too often we get caught up in the false concepts and ideologies that profess that success looks like perfection. Nobody has ever been the perfect anything. It is through our experiences that we grow. If we will let the common thread of human values shine in our hearts, we will be able to grow and have a healthy and vibrant mind. Our life will be one with which we would be happy, satisfied and at peace with. Our ability to progress in endeavors at work and at home will be enlarged and magnified.
The only true solution is to not hide from ourselves or our mistakes, but instead to reconcile and heal ourselves. The brain is designed to assist in this process even when we make wrong choices. The moment we decide to truly reconcile a bad decision we’ve made, the brain registers that thoughts of reconciliation and taps into the coding and information of human values. This is the foundation that makes it possible to grow and have happiness restored in our lives.