Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Because this is not a contest.

There is something making me a little bit uncomfortable and I want to climb up onto my soap box for a few minutes and talk about it today. The subtle undercurrents implied online sometimes are that those not living according to certain values are living their lives wrongly.

As a community mental health worker by day, I practice according to a framework which is fundamentally based on the understanding that every individual has their own set of unique personal values regardless of mental health concerns or not. My job is essentially to support people to live a positive, independent life that is in line with their own personal values.

When we discuss 'simple living' and we talk about how to achieve this, I do feel sometimes there is an element of judgement in the written voices. People are judged because they consume. People are judged because they never feel content. They are judged through implication that their way of living is the undesired way. Do we know why they live the life that they do? Maybe there is a reason behind the choices they make...

As someone who spends her working days exploring the values people have (the life experiences that have shaped these, the struggles, hardships, addictions, traumas, and illnesses they have had to face), I do worry that people are often judged too quickly.

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I want this blog to record a snapshot of my life. A life being lived in line with, and staying true to, my own personal values. A life not recorded against a set of criteria, or compared to the lives of others. 

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I read an article the other day by Angela Barton and her final paragraph struck deep at my core:

" ... Because this is not a contest. And it's not about being a martyr. Its is about living a thoughtful, meaningful, conscientious lifestyle and feeling like you are walking the walk and living your values.

And that makes me happier than new shoes ever could..."

Tread your own life path, even if the shoes you wear are a pair of old black rubber gumboots.

Sam xox