How aligned are you with me?
This is my top 5 list of human values, both present in myself and that I'm attracted to in friends, coworkers and lovers. I also included my interpretation of each one to avoid any confusion.
It's pretty hard to trust people that lie, behave inconsistently, remain secretive about an innocuous subject or fail to disclose important facts. I would even argue that trusting such people is pretty much impossible. At the very least, it is for me. Trust and respect can easily be given, and doing so can empower us, but it also makes us vulnerable, and such betrayals cannot easily be repaired if at all.
Integrity is honesty and transparency in both words and actions, and the basis of all healthy relationships. I remain true to myself at all times, and I expect others to do the same. We may have done mistakes on this regard in the past, but it's only by assuming them, learning from them and correcting them that we can be fully comfortable with ourselves and retain the trust and respect given to us by others.
If someone is dumb as bricks, it doesn't matter how great their values are. At best, they may not be able to assess situations correctly to properly apply said values, and may cause undue harm to themselves or those they care in the process. At worst, their values would be built on false grounds, and become twisted, toxic, and self-destructive.
Intelligence is the biggest asset any human being can have. Logical reasoning, intuition, empathy, creativity... all of these and more can compose our intelligence and empower us to do everything life can offer at its fullest. It's a set of skills well worth developing.
Even the smartest person needs to learn by experience. Learning the theory is one thing, but applying it is another. In addition, the circumstances around our lives change over time, both in our bodies and environment, and being able to adapt to those changes is key to guaranteeing long-term success in life.
Maturity is about embracing change and being ready for it. Living independently, successfully managing a budget, breaking our preconceived ideas, and having a healthy sexual life are just a few examples of what maturity grants us. Sometimes life forces us to become more mature, but in general it's good to practice in advance to prevent the worst. And on top of that, intellectually-mature people are extremely sexy!
Life is all about learning through trial and error, and following the paths that we believe will maximize our expectancy of happiness through experience. However, many people mistakenly focus on minimizing pain instead, refusing to take any decision that may lead to such an outcome. Sure, the lows may be less severe overall, but so will the highs of joy, their length and their frequency, leading to overall less happiness.
Courage isn't about blindly taking risky decisions. It's about properly weighting their outcomes, allowing ourselves to get out of our comfort zone to try something new, and accepting when the worst occurs. In the long term, the positives are much more likely to outweigh the negatives on average, leading to a much more healthy life. All it takes is to take the initiative...
It can be a challenge to mentally cope with the difficulties experienced in life. There is nothing wrong with having strong emotions about them, or desiring emotional support in times of need. The problem occurs when such difficulties cause persistent stress or negative emotions, consuming our lives. Heck, some people are so uncomfortable just being by themselves that they will do everything to find constant distractions.
Serenity is about being confortable with our lives, and being able to do so while enjoying it in a calm environment for extended periods of time. It's not about avoiding risks, but about taking them to improve our mental health. It's not about changing our way of thinking to achieve apathy, but about worrying only about things that we are passionate about and can reasonably control in a positive way, while avoiding the toxicity of what we can't control as much as possible. Serenity is not just a must for introverts like me, but a good way of life in general as long as we don't forget our other needs alongside it.
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