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The Absolute Value

Shell underwater

Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

Everything has value and what determines that value is also, as they say with beauty, “in the eyes of the beholder”.  Some items have an absolute or predetermined value such as money. Although some may toil extraordinarily long and hard to earn that dollar, it does not instantly increase in value simply because we want it to be. Our hoping will never change its accepted rate of exchange.

Most people, I would imagine, consider themselves extremely fair when asked to give an opinion about an item’s value.  When it pertains to something more intangible such as a law or principle, we become still more assured of our judgement. Ultimately, when it comes to our own “core values”, most are unwilling to compromise or budge one inch because those are exactly what determines who we are and provides the foundation on how we live our lives.

While we may cherish our individual freedom and ability to respond uniquely  in any way we choose, ironically we don’t always allow others that same independence which we so fervently demand and expect for ourselves. We strenuously object when others perceive us as a stereotype or slap a label on our backs. Being viewed through a predetermining lens is not how we ought to be observed ty others but are we guilty of doing that which we so adamantly despise? Even those who pride themselves on being open-minded have been culpable of this same offense.

While you struggle to maintain your individuality, do you unwittingly make absolute conclusions about others? The human species has  always tended to categorize others, defining people in ways that are convenient to our own (mis)understanding whether it be by race, religion, gender, or in numerous other ways. It appears to be reaching epidemic levels and while some may choose to blame the media for its upsurge, it is quite evident in everyday conversations.

Before pointing the finger at others, ask yourself if have you ever said something like, “all conservatives are stupid” or “all liberals are useless”. Have you recently generalized about people from a particular region or country? Do you assume those who are less educated or experienced do not have any knowledge or wisdom that can be imparted to you? During this time of a globally unstable political climate, it is more important than ever to afford others that same courtesy. This kind of stereotypical thinking only leads to a greater separation, adding no value to society but only widening the gap.

However, as with so many other problems, the solution begins with you. Be that change which you expect to see in others. Ask yourself what you can do to change the conversation. I have been guilty of this same thing but I try and remedy it by catching myself in this situation and reminding myself to be more vigilant and work hard at giving others the same consideration. It is always easier to see bad behavior in someone else because no one wants to look into a mirror and see their own faults.  We all want the other person to change however, that is similar to saying I want my dollar bill to be worth two.

Thanks again to E. Rachel Thompson for the beautiful photo. All of her amazing photos are available, find out more here. I am anticipating some interesting comments.


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