As part of my work on myself and A Good Plan, I am reflecting on my values. Values are very important to me. When I berate myself for being a less than perfect mum as I often do, the one thing that rescues me is knowing that all three of my children have brilliant values. By this I mean they care for other people and would not let anyone be hurt even if that meant putting themselves at some risk. They have a particular interest in those who are disadvantaged in some way. This makes me proud.
A Good Plan asks you to consider a list of values and to select just 12 that matter to you. I am recording these today so that I can revisit them as I work out where I want to go next, what I want to do and how I want to live. I found the top ones very easy to select and the next came fairly speedily soon.
Helping others – this is a big driver for me. Both my parents were involved in community and charity work so I imagine me wanting to be there for others is their legacy.
Sense of humour – again my parents gave me a home that was full of fun and laughter. I am quick-witted, love word play and can be quite ribald on occasion.
Being creative – I love being creative particularly with words but also when presented with a blank sheet for a project. Both my parents were creative. Dad was a writer and painter. Mum would draw but lacked confidence. Her big creative endeavours were as a cook, host and community organiser.
Having a passion – passion is one of my favourite words and when I develop a passion either professionally or personally it becomes all-encompassing. This is not always a good thing but is very much the way I am.
Freedom – I can feel hemmed in very easily. I am not great with authority figures unless they can persuade me that they are speaking sense. Although I had brothers they were much older than me so I had a lot of time on my own and space to make my own choices. Marriage and parenting are great in many ways but the thing I have struggled with is the restrictions they place on my freedom.
Justice – this is why I wanted to do Law at University and also why I turned my back on a legal career. I could not see that the legal system was fair to women or the poor enough for me. I could have stayed within the system and tried to change things. Looking back on my life, that would have been the better option perhaps but I decided to leave and try to change things from the outside.
Being authentic – I don’t like fakery. I see it in so many places. Let’s face it – social media and blogging are not helping with that. I am not good at social niceties. If I like you, my heart will be yours forever. If I don’t I can’t be bothered. I won’t be rude but I won’t try particularly hard either.
Being successful – I was given the curse of early success. Just like with sport people who do well when they are young, it is hard to bear. It seems like I am always trying to live up to the potential people thought I had when I was a child and young adult. I love succeeding at things and thrive on deadlines and targets. If there are none, I invent them for myself.
Being loyal – I am a loyal person. If I am your friend, I will be there for you and commit to you. I am not sure I always get this back in the way I would like. I have had two serious relationships with men in my life and feel both have cheated on me. You don’t have to sleep with another person for me to see disloyalty. I have a very high bar when it comes to loyalty. That does not mean I am right but it is the way I am.
Love – I wondered whether to include this one but I am a loving person. My heart is a big guide and I probably don’t think with my head enough. It’s very rare for me to stop loving someone. If it happens, it means you have hurt me and badly.
Being part of a community – I have worked out that the three places I have been happiest of life are strikingly different and yet were all strong communities. There was the town that took me to its heart when I was adopted there, my college and that other special place.
Being educated – I love learning and am at my happiest when doing it. I even have letters after my name and quite a lot of them but don’t use them unless I have to kick ass for a family member or friend.
According to A Good Plan my next task is to work out which of these values are my top three so that these can act as my moral compass moving forwards. That might take some thinking but when I have done it I will report back.
What values are important to you in life?