Values and standards are an interesting topic to me because they express so many dimensions that can effect a person’s life. I think one of the biggest impacts happens when we allow other people’s standards or values to dictate how we see ourselves or worse how we choose to behave because of fear of rejection or other negative ramifications. Our personal choices are the most powerful attribute we have as humans so why do we give it away?
The timeliest example I can think of has to do with my novels. When I first tried to find an agent back in early 2009, I still had a very hard time talking about my books. I felt embarrassed by what I thought other people would think. Would they think me a sex fiend or assume, as some have, that the story is about me? Could their opinions of me be so changeable regarding the dream I had chosen? I think the biggest internal conflict people face is the pull between what they deem as right and good and the pressure that comes from other people’s opinions or worse, judgments.
I believe that relationships can be the hardest arena to navigate these issues. I’m certain you won’t find any two people who agree on everything. The worst thing you can do in a relationship is take the position that YOUR values and YOUR standards are better/higher than another’s values. The truth is that a lot of what we buy into is a fundamental part of our upbringing and cultural and even time period. So one’s values are not better than another, just different.
I’m happy to report that my feelings regarding my own works of fiction have changed. The change came prior to the 50 Shades phenomena but I’m certain that the door has been opened to allow greater acceptance of alternative erotica because of E L James.
In My Body-His, Jane battles this very issue and allows it to create a gulf between her and her best friends. She assumes her friends will not understand her choices and will instead be judgmental. Instead of going to them for much needed support, she struggles on her own which leaves her feeling isolated and confused.
I think the best course of action is to feel good about our own choices without worrying too much about what the rest of the world might think about the routes we have chosen. No greatness has come from following the pathway already carved.
How do differing values and standards effect your life? Please share with us.