On March 1, we did an in-class activity to help us realize or confirm what's really important to us. We were each given a little bag full of flash cards that each contained values on them, there must have been 100 total. First, we were asked to sort the cards into two categories: Important, and Not Important. A large number of values fell under Important for me, although it helped me weed out the ones I didn't care about at all. Next, we had to sort the important ones out further into Very Important, Important, and Not Really. We continued to weed them out like this until we were forced to pick ten of our most important ones.
My top ten values were arranged in somewhat of an order, so it showed me what was really important. God's Will came at the top, of course. I honestly put it at number one because I knew I should, even though there are plenty of times where His will doesn't take priority in my life. So this was more of a goal: I put it at number one because I know it should take priority in my life and I want it to.
Right under God's Will came self-esteem and inner peace. These are two important values, although not something that would necessarily make the very top of someone's list. But it made the top of mine, and I thought about why that is. I do struggle with having a low self-esteem at times, and as a direct result of that I don't have inner peace. You can't be at peace and be happy without being confident in who you are and liking who you are. I never realized how much self-esteem and inner peace went hand-in-hand until now, but it makes sense. I struggle with them a lot, so it makes sense that they'd be at the top of my list. If I'm confident and happy, I'll be able to approach life head-on, so it would make sense that these make the top.
Next came family. I knew that family would be somewhere near the top, so this came as no surprise. I like being alone, which I'll elaborate on later, but I don't like having nobody there. This may sound a little perplexing, but what it means for me is that there are times where I need to be alone to recharge, but at the end of the day, I need family there. My blood family isn't particularly close or strong, we're what you'd consider normal. My dream, and my goal, is to somehow have a family experience like the Robertsons on Duck Dynasty. While some of the stuff they do on the show is scripted and fake, you can see how close they are to each other and how strong of a family they have, and that is not made up. How I'll get there, I don't know. It may not have to be my actual family. Not everyone on the show has the last name Robertson, but they're treated like family and given a place at the table, something I'd be more than happy with. Maybe I'd marry into a family like that. Long story short, this could happen several different ways, but I just hope it does.
Next came industry. Working hard has always been one of my strengths, and it's been something I've always valued highly. Working hard is your ticket to everything. I've been raised on a mindset that nothing is really given to you in life, you have to work for it and earn it. Hard work is the ticket to a better job, more money, and just better results in general. It doesn't have to be at your actual job either. This could apply to anything from a yard project, working on or modifying a vehicle, building something, etc. If you put in the effort and do the best job you can rather than half-ass it, you're going to be so much more satisfied with the results. I've seen examples of both, and I've already decided how I'm going to do things in my life.
After that came solitude. Personality-wise, I'm what you might call an extroverted introvert. I used to be very quiet, shy, and reserved, but since then I've become very extroverted and sociable. I've even had people actually tell me how much more sociable I am now, and people that haven't known me for long don't believe I used to be the quiet, awkward kid. Yet, contrary to all that, solitude is one of the values I picked. Having some solitude and time to just think and ponder about things is how I recharge. I'm not faking being outgoing, but there comes a time where I just need to sit back and unwind. I don't have to be completely alone. This can take many different forms, including being in the woods, fishing, driving, or just sitting outside. The outdoors is "my zone", and I recharge best when I'm there. I could be in my truck with the windows down, sitting at a bonfire, in a deer stand, on a riverbank, or anything like that. Just some time for me to think about life and recharge.
Next came romance. I've never been in a relationship, so I've never actually experienced it, but I can only imagine what it must feel like. When you're in a relationship, the other person is the closest person to you on the planet. They know you better, care about you more, and are there for you more than anyone else in this world could. Like I said, I've never been in a relationship but even I know they take work if they are to last. That involves, among other things, a little romance to keep the spark alive. My goal is to get married, and once I am, my wife will be the closest person to me on earth, so I need to understand that and treat her accordingly.
After that came humor. The benefits of a good laugh are tenfold. Laughing relieves stress, lightens your mood, makes you feel more alive, and just engages you in general. So, I find it rather important to know people with a good sense of humor, and even find videos on youtube once in a while, just something to make me laugh.
After that came self-knowledge. This one's pretty self explanatory, each and every day I discover more about who I am, who God made me to be and what his purpose for me is, and what I'm capable of. I continue to surprise myself over time, but I want to better understand who I am, how I'm wired, how I work, and what I'm capable of.
Last but certainly not least is friendship. I know what I said about boy/girlfriends and husbands/wives being the closest person to you, but they shouldn't be all you have. There should be more people in your life than just that special someone. Besides having a strong family, I think it's important to have a good group of friends. My goal is to have a large social network, but I need my "inner circle" of a few close, trusted friends that always have your back.
Not much on this list really surprised me. After I made the list, and especially now that I've written all this, my response is "Yep, sounds about right." I even understood myself a little better, now that I've looked at the list and realized what's really important to me. Basically, there was nothing on the list that didn't make sense. I think it describes me to a T.
My Plan to Uphold All my Values
My short term goals are to continue to attend FCA on Thursdays and keep going to Newspring on Sunday evenings to connect with more Christians at Clemson. It did surprise me how high I ranked solitude, I need to find good times and spots here at Clemson to have my "alone" time. My other goal is to spend more time studying for my classes, to stick to my code of not doing things halfway and working hard.
My long term goals involve growing closer to God and spending more time with Him, and also to graduate in two and a half years. I need to always take time for myself to think, and find good productive ways to do that. I also need to do things that build up my self-esteem. Graduating college will help immensely with that. I need to find and do things that help with that, as well as giving me inner peace.