In accepting awesome, I had to delve quite deeply into what makes me tick and I found that getting down to the grass roots of exploring my motivations for doing things and even more deeply my values system provided me with some of the checks and balances that I needed to keep myself on track. I have thought quite a lot about my values over the years, I’ve used an understanding of them to understand and modify my behaviour, socially, in clubs and groups and at work.
My most strongly held value is integrity, which to me represents a consistency of actions, an adherence to values and principles. Placing integrity so high at times makes me uncompromising. If something doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right. I can reason and think and do some more reasoning and thinking and still cannot always bring myself to do what is expected of me. This is a constant struggle and over the past 12 months work has conflicted my values, which has significantly contributed to the depth of depression that I have felt. I still don’t necessarily compromise but I now step back and accept that although things are not being done the way that I would choose, the decision makers take responsibility and I can do no more than minimise the impact in my sphere of influence.
My second and third most closely held values are honesty and openness. Until I wrote my post ‘Belief and Secrecy’, I would not have been able to say why these two values were so important to me. A lack of these at times in my life have stretched me to the limits and significantly contributed to my depression. I will not go back there but now that I understand that my motivation comes from personal circumstances and that those around me act because of their own personal circumstances and closely held values, I can accept that I have to deal with varying degrees of openness in different people and different aspects of my life.
I would always have placed power and influence high on my list of motivators but never money. So long as I have enough, money is not and never has been a strong motivator. In accepting awesome, I have accepted that neither power nor influence are all they are cracked up to be. Stepping back from my overwhelming desire to take over some aspect of the world has been nothing short of liberating.
My father was a gentle man, a gentleman by any definition. He was a person who commanded respect when he walked into a room. He was an incredibly kind man. My mother was someone who everybody liked. She didn’t play politics or favourites. I remember when a family friend who had recently separated from his wife, died. Our families had been close for years so I wasn’t surprised to find mum at home baking a cake. I guess that the surprise was when the second cake appeared, one for each of the grieving ladies. I remember when the house across the street from us burned down, mum and I decided to give my beautiful doll’s house to the daughter of that family. Dad and I would deliver ‘Meals on Wheels’ often on a Sunday while mum prepared our own Sunday roast. As I grew up I shared my dad’s commitment to community service. I remember when dad died and one of his friends was reminiscing about him, he said to me, “You know if he thought someone was struggling, he would quietly sneak around to them and leave a box of groceries by their front door.” I had never known that about him but have no doubt that both of my parents contributed to my fourth closely held value, compassion.
My fifth closely held value is courage. I have always expected of myself that I will behave in harmony with my values regardless of whether this is the easy or the hard way. While integrity contributes to an uncompromising approach, courage and integrity together at times leave others aghast at my behaviour and reactions.
These values have caused me angst, gotten me into trouble, stopped me from progressing at work and kept me true to myself. Would I change anything I’ve been or done? Only superficially and in minor detail. Recognising and accepting my values, my motivators, my strengths and my weakness has been an essential step in my recovery. Accepting the validity of other people’s values and the impact that those values have on their behaviour has been liberating.
I suspect that this is my last post on this blog though I may return to it from time to time. If you have comments or would like more information on any of my posts or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. I wish you every happiness and strength with your challenges and a successful journey towards accepting awesome!