Life is more difficult when your personal value system is based on people. I think. I assume.
I’ve been trying to figure out how others operate. I’ve done enough introspection (OK, yes, maybe too much introspection) to know what I value and how that guides my actions. I believe in life. I believe in people, yes, those weird, nutty beings that exist in the world with me.
I believe everyone is valuable and has a part to play. Someone has to be the bad guy. If everyone was good, we wouldn’t understand what good even is all about, and the cosmic balance of the universe would be thrown off and we’d all implode. I think. I speculate.
My main goal in life used to be raising my kids. And then I figured out, through blogging and therapy, that I wasn’t done being raised yet, and needed to take care of myself too. And that actually I need to take care of myself so that I am better able to take care of my family.
I have always known the difference in a need and a want. I grew up with more wants met than needs. I was not spoiled, not by far, but my parents would give gifts instead of love, affection, guidance, rules, or even safety. I had a warm house and warm meals, but no warmth in my soul. In fact I thought I had no soul for so many years, as it was shattered and discarded through years of abuse before I was old enough to know anything else.
It seems to me that most people I know in real life, or at least what they share with me, seems to indicate they have values based on things, not on people.
- Status-focused – These people are never satisfied. They are highly competitive and thrive on being better than others, even when it means pushing others down on the way. They spend more money than they have, rack up debt, all to create an appearance of a higher status. They put their kids in beauty pageants (Oh I hate those so much I even hate writing the word here, that could be another post though), give them arduous after school schedules for team practices of multiple types, give the latest iphone, ipad, xbox, etc to each child, post hourly pictures of smiling family members on exotic vacations on facebook . . . You get the point. You know the type. They are always inwardly tired, outwardly chipper (or complaining incessantly, depending on how well you know them, because they tend to be two-faced) and never feel like they are good enough, and make their kids yearn for more as well.
- Money-focused – This can be a part of the status-focused above, but I’ve seen some that only care about money, none of the other things that go with status building. They tend to be workaholics, and save all the money. They have thousands to spare in the bank, but don’t spend it. Think Ebenezer Scrooge. Some of our executives are this way, and expect us workers to continue on with no raises, no benefits, no praise, and to work overtime with no pay at all. They care little about the end product or the client’s goals/satisfaction, as long as they sign a contract and shell out the cash.
- Information-focused – These people are addicted to the internet and reading. They have apps for each type of news and weather, stocks, international news, actually watch CNN and feel like they do in fact know everything. They will argue about anything you say, because they either already heard it, or heard something more recent and you are wrong. They will nit-pick everything about you and their world is full of shoulds and shouldn’ts based on the latest news; you shouldn’t drink diet soda, you should take extra vitamin B-12, you shouldn’t let your kids sleep in your bed, you should drive a green car, you should exercise 2 hours every day, you shouldn’t play computer games, you should eat a grapefruit every day, you should only wear cotton clothes, on and on. They have strong opinions and care more about being right than anything else.
- Religion-focused – These people have forgotten they have free will. They think everything is pre-planned and orchestrated by some higher power and we are all merely SIMS, not people capable of changing the world around us. They pray for sunshine for their picnic, and think God has answered their prayer when sunny, and punishing them when rainy. They devote their time to the local church, missions, spreading their ideas to anyone that will listen. They often believe they have the power to correctly judge those around them, and are often the first to ‘damn’ people they deem to be evil. They give up on lost souls and focus energies on the believer, forming a tight knit group of followers. They feed on making others feel guilty. (God gave up his only son for you and you can’t pay him back by ________________(fill in the blank: going to church every week, donating more to the church, leading bible study) Some people in the status-focused system will also add religion as a way to compete about how good they are too.
- Children-focused – These are people that lost their own identity when they had children and now live vicariously through them. They tend not to be so competitive, and often let the kids rule the home. The kids get to start and quit any activity they want, no pressure. Bribes run rampant, anything to avoid conflict and never upset the child. The house and phone is covered in kid photos. If you ask this person how they are, they will go into a listing of what the children are doing. All they do is drive kids around from event to event, or do their homework for them, and complain to teachers and principals when they attempt to discipline little Johnny, because it is NEVER the child’s fault. They become PTA members, volunteer at every school function, attend every football game (even though the children are in elementary school). Or even better – they choose to homeschool because no one else is good enough to educate little Susie except for them. No matter they have never taught before, barely got C’s when they went to school, and have no idea how to reduce a fraction.
- People focused – Accept that people have free will and the tools make changes in the world, starting with themselves. These people are open to meeting others, and genuinely care about everyone. They don’t care much what others think of them, as status is not important. They tend to live just on the edge of social groups – getting involved when necessary, but not overdoing any one thing. They create a safe, warm, loving home for their families as a safe haven from the nutty world outside. They encourage their children to learn and grown, to take risks, and be their best, but no emphasis on the need to win or be THE best. They accept that others have different values and do their best to tolerate differences. They accept every religion as valid, because every person is valid. Gentle understanding rules the day for them. Knowledge is important, and eagerly sought, but not frantically gathered, and not to prove they are right and others are wrong. They share knowledge when others are ready for it, never force-fed. And they know they will never know everything and don’t try. They accept the limitations of all humans as imperfect beings and try to promote awareness, spread joy, and encourage everyone to grow continually.
So these are my thoughts. I am sure there are more, but these are the types of people I see regularly and I try to understand and accept them. It seems to me that many of the bloggers here are also people-focused, and are so willing to connect. I am so happy when I am blogging, and I assume, that is how happy a religion focused person feels at bible study, surrounded by other religion-focused people. I get it. And I’m not trying to offend anyone or put people in a box with this post, just trying to understand what motivates people and why they act the ways they do. Notice I did not have a box for abusers. Cruelty-focused people. I don’t understand them at all and I’m not sure I want to look that closely right now.