Values and virtues are what motivate and guides our behavior. They ground our judgments about what is good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable. Values guide us to make the correct choice in behavior in everyday situations and every walk of life.
One of the consequences of this shared human experience is that you don’t have to spend time convincing anyone that moral values matter to us in important and distinctive ways, and that they can function as reasons to believe or do things.
Let us explore some of the values and virtues below.
Commitment and Reliability
Commitment is an agreement or pledge to do something in the future. Once you make a commitment, you have to sincerely strive to keep the commitment. If you have promised someone to be a volunteer at an event, make sure you arrive early, put away your digital devices, do the tasks with focus, energy and enthusiasm. You will be deemed as a reliable person. People will see the contribution and you might motivate others to be like you.
On the contrary, if you arrive late or not arrive at all, or get distracted, you will fail to follow through on your commitments. People may not provide with future opportunities. We will be deemed as unreliable. You will be lowering your own standards and accepting more mediocrity in your life. When small commitments cannot be kept, achieving anything big for yourself becomes difficult or impossible.
It all starts with creating the habit of commitment in our own lives.
If you plant a mango seed, water regularly, nurture it. It will take a few years for it to grow into a tree. Additionally, it has to be the right season, sprint time, for a mango tree to produce its first fruit. If we had given up caring for the plant anytime in the middle, we will never get to experience the sweet taste of the fruit. We can understand much about life through nature. We almost never get immediate results in what we do. Patience and consistency are essential.
Today more than ever, we are used to a fast-paced life with instant results and instant gratification. We have everything at our fingertips, fast food, entertainment, internet, easy access. We expect instant results in every walk of life. Deep relationships, meaningful
accomplishments seldom happen quickly. They require intelligent, sensitive efforts, perseverance and patience. Strong bonds are established over a period of time.
Our individualistic and materialistic society values ambition and action, whereas patience involves a withdrawing and withholding of the self. One does not become an accomplished artist or musician overnight. It takes hours of regular consistent practice for years. There is no other substitute. Patience is a forgotten virtue. it can also be understood as a complex of virtues including self-control, humility, tolerance, generosity, and mercy.
When you have patience, you are better able to make rational and well-thought-out decisions. If you constantly give up on things early on, they have not had a chance to take off, you’ll never get ahead in life. Perseverance and determination are the only way to reach our goals. Interestingly, surrounding yourself with other people of patience can help you reach your goals faster, as impatience and laziness is actually “contagious.”
Compassion, empathy and Sympathy
By empathy, you share the pain or suffering of another person. The difference between sympathy and compassion is that sympathy responds to suffering with sorrow and concern while compassion responds with warmth and care.
Compassion is more than a desire to alleviate another’s suffering, Compassion can be broken down into four interrelated stages:
· recognizing that there is suffering
· being emotionally moved by that suffering
· wanting to relieve that suffering
· having the ability and willingness to take action to relieve that suffering
In short, compassion isn’t defined by what you feel for another but what you do about how you feel.
Respect and self-respect
Everyone has the responsibility to demonstrate basic respect for all individuals in spite of their differences. They may belong to any background, nationality, belief systems, gender, etc. In Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), we believe we treat every animal, creature, organism including trees and plants with respect, consideration and compassion.
When in conflict, respect is the understanding that others will disagree or have opposing views to yours, and then focusing on how you can bridge that gap to find some balance that both sides can live with. Remember, it’s easy to be respectful towards those who share your view. The real challenge is respecting those whose viewpoints challenge yours.
Self-respect is knowing what you stand for and what your values are, and being accepting of both your strengths and weaknesses. Once you understand yourself, external comments will not easily shake you and disturb your inner peace. Self-respect is an inner quality that each individual must take time to develop.
Truthfulness & Honesty
Truthfulness is the oldest, greatest and most important of all human virtues. Truthfulness means to speak the truth habitually. A truthful person will never tell a lie. He always says what he means. A person who decides to be truthful, is careful with their words, seeks to be accurate, neither understating nor over-exaggerating. Telling the truth can be the best habit you can develop, and asking questions and talking things through with yourself can be the easiest and quickest way to establish this habit.
Honesty is not only about being truthful, but also being real with yourself and others about who you are, what you want. It is about being your authentic self. Honesty sharpens our perception and allows us to observe everything around us with clarity.
At times, one may feel telling a lie is easier than telling the truth. Take time to consciously separate facts from feelings in a given situation. Feelings may be farther from truth than facts of what actually happened.
Truth has a great power and is a solid foundation for a great personality. Ancient Indians were noted for their truthfulness, the examples of Yudhisthira and Harishchandra. Harishchandra sacrificed everything for the sake of truth. As truthfulness is a great virtue, truthfulness is a great voice. In life, being honest and truthful can become such a positive and powerful energy. It can clean up your conscience, build confidence and improve relationships.