The Ten Happiness Principles #5

Live your values

This is so very important and yet so easily dismissed and ignored. I imagine that most people have high ideals, both of how they wish to treat others and more consciously, how they wish to be treated by others.

But it seems to me, most people don’t exercise their high ideals on an hourly and daily basis. To live our values implies putting our beliefs, our morality into action, and doing this as a matter of course in our daily tasks and especially in our interactions with others.

Like all habits, good ‘value’ habits need to be rehearsed on a daily basis. Perhaps we should all take a moment at some stage on some days to reflect on the significant interactions we have had with others over the last 24 hours and consider if we did indeed display the values we wish to live by.

One huge problem with values though is that without some absolute standard to measure them against, much conflict occurs between the values of different people. Even when we accept an absolute standard of values and morality, we still can have much divergence in the practical outworking of these values and morals in general society, and even within families.

It does seem self-evident that others respect and admire people who live consistently by their values and moral compass, even when the practical outworking may seem somewhat different.

In turn, when someone is aware that they are respected for their values and character, this normally translates to a deeper sense of worth and a consequential sense of peace and happiness.

As I discuss elsewhere, research has shown that those who are begin to partake in some altruistic acts, in helping others, end up doing even more altruistic acts, because altruistic behaviour changes a person’s ‘biology’. It rewires the brain somehow so  that they actually desire to be more giving towards others, even if they started out in acts of giving for other than purely altruistic  reasons.

This also has been shown to develop a greater degree of resilience and stability in their happiness, so that when something  happens that momentarily disturbs their sense of peace and happiness (such as someone damaging their car), they recover quicker and regain their overall sense of happiness.

What is perhaps even more intriguing is that some research is now indicating that when people give in secret (that is, when such giving is not widely known), the ‘giver’ gains a greater sense of joy and happiness from such giving.

What did Yeshua say?

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:3-4

For some interesting research and commentary on Happiness see Stephen G Post – http://stephengpost.com/