Everyone alive or who has ever lived has/had their own individual and unique values. Without our values, we likely would not survive just as our ancestors couldn’t have done without their mythologies (if they hadn’t been able to form some sort of explanation for the systems in their environment, they wouldn’t have thrived as well as they did). For example, how could we hope to stay alive in our current forms for as long as we’re meant to if we didn’t value giving our bodies nourishment through food?
Psychologically, our values also give us a sense of reason for living. Without our values, we would end up physically wiping ourselves off the face of the earth entirely because mentally, we would never really be here in the first place. This may sound like a rather far-fetched concept at first glance. Though if one thinks about this even for a short amount of time, it’s easy to spot the importance in it. Some even go as far as to say that animals are incapable of emotion, which is very contrary to the truth. It is simply that theirs are more primal than ours because they don’t have the same consciousness that we do. Our human consciousness alone is a mystery. Even so, for example, if prey didn’t fear their predators enough to attempt to run from them, their entire species would be wiped out in less than a year.
Because our consciousness is so advanced, so our values stem from more than just primal fear, happiness and sadness. And because our values are so advanced and because we have so many choices between what we value, we try to pick and choose the values that serve us best as individuals and for each situation. Sometimes we choose well, sometimes not, it’s all a part of the great learning process. What is unfortunate with many of us is that when we don’t choose well or believe we did, we tend to put ourselves down for it, which leads to suffering that builds and builds until it “explodes” in one form or another.
Thomas Jefferson didn’t add the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence for nothing. Thanks to him and our many other forefathers, in this country, we have the right to live as we want, make major decisions even for our own country and do whatever makes us happy. In stating that, though, I can’t help but wonder if Jefferson wasn’t stating it as simply an unalienable human right as he was also stating it as an indirect hint that even if one fails, that doesn’t mean that one has to give their right to happiness away to that failure.
As long as we inhabit this world of imperfection, this means that we are not perfect, either. Okay, what’s off about the use of the word “perfect” here? How should perfection be defined? Are we even capable of giving it a set definition with our finite minds? If we’re not, there’s not even any good reason to become upset if we don’t live up to our own standards with perfection.
Though this doesn’t mean that we should give up on ourselves or give up trying to make it in this world. No one who has ever been successful has ever been perfect. In fact, success manifests only after multiple failures. For example, Chris Gardner of the Pursuit of Happyness had been selling bone density scanners in the 1980s when they went out. His wife left him and he was evicted due to unpaid taxes and ended up on the streets for a year. During this time, he took an internship with a stock company and pursued it despite his fears. After the internship ended, he landed the job going on to found his own multi-million brokerage firm.
Most successes are not this extreme and even the smallest ones count because the more we focus on where we’re successful, the more likely we will graduate to being successful in bigger things. Whatever we give out-even positive versus negative thoughts- will eventually come back to us. Like attracts like and is no different when it comes to what we choose to value and how we handle ourselves when have even the smallest failures to living up to them.
How we handle ourselves when we fail also stems from our childhood and how our parents or caregivers handled it when we failed. If they encouraged us, chances are, we will be less likely to allow failures to hold us back. If on the contrary, they belittled and berated us for them, chances are, we will do the same to ourselves. It also came from the indirect examples they set for us with themselves. If we are in the latter state, this does not mean that we can’t pull ourselves out of it. We cannot do it without a lot of encouragement but in the end, we are the ones responsible for ourselves and we must make the final decision to change.
We all deserve nothing less than the best. And it includes you.

Author's Bio: 

Lacy Pierce has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Art. She currently volunteers for a church bookstore, a homeless organization and a school mentoring program. She also currently works for a market research company.