Values and Health
Our values reveal who we are, explain our behavior, determine our health and guide us in how we go about our lives.
They are emotional rules that define us and show us the way individually, socially, culturally, politically, organizationally and spiritually.
They represent what we deem most important and determine our outcomes and results.
Humter Lewis, in A Question of Values, says "although the term . . . . is often used loosely, it should be synonymous with personal evaluations and related beliefs, especially . . . about the "good", the "just" and the "beautiful" . . . that propel us to action, to a particular kind of behavior and life"
These are never identical between individuals, but can be quite similar among relatively homogeneous groups.
Certain religions, organizations, tribes, political parties, clubs or professional organizations may have similar rules and beliefs that reveal their beliefs and determine their behavior.
We are not born with these quideposts and rules but learn and acquire them from parents, teachers, friends, partners, clerics, leaders, and those in positions to influence our choices.
Eventually, our growth, development and maturation will take us to the point where we can make our own evaluations and decisions about what rules and behavior we choose to live our lives.
Some may keep much the same rules for life; others will make changes.
One may grow up in a paticular religious faith and later fall in love with someone from a different one and modify views; one may give acqusition of money highest priority and later decide that peace or happiness or charity or health are more important.
One may have learned to eat meat without thinking about it and visit a slaughter house and decide to become a vegetarian for the rights of animals; or have a stroke or heart attack and become more educated about the consequences of what we eat.
There are many reasons we may choose to alter the way we go about our daily lives and why.
Organizations, societies, cultures, religions and philosophies can also modify their rules and beliefs, but this often requires multiple influences and can be a much slower process.
Episcopalians, for instance, changed their views regarding women and gay priests; the Chinese changed their economic rules and prosper; the colonies fought England to be free of taxes without representation.
Many throughout the world have changed their habits due to environmental considerations; and a country once with a history of entrenched slavery eventually elected a black man to be their leader.
Our values do indeed identify us, reveal who we are, explain and determine our behavior and health and offer guidance as we go about our lives.
Some of the following pages, shown below, give examples of from where some values come and reveal threads of commonality in various sources.
Franklin's Thirteen Virtues