Can Value Based Decision Making Save Our Society?
How ordinary do you think you were meant to be? Do you believe that you have the power to completely change the way you live any time you want? When I was young, my mother used to tell me that I could be anything I put my mind to, but I didn’t believe her. She was my mother, after all. I was convinced she only told me that because the truth would be too painful for me to bear. I used to believe my life would only be an extension of my limited capabilities. You know. Same shit, different pile.
As I got older, I realized that we are only ever one decision away from change. I discovered that anything you want is really there for you, if you can muster the courage to begin the process of changing your current circumstances. It was my willingness to take a chance and dare to be different that started the first massive change in the direction of my life. I was just 21 years old. I changed my religion and my entire lifestyle and lived by very strict and rather unconventional religious standards for twelve years. By the time I was 33, I realized that I made decisions that caused my life to stagnate and that I had unwittingly cut myself out of so many opportunities. I then resolved to make new decisions, to take control of my life and take responsibility for the outcomes I produced. You see, taking responsibility for your decisions isn’t about owning your past and living with regret. It is about owning your present and deliberately shaping your future.
Human nature is such that we often undermine ourselves and create obstacles to our success without even realizing it. Many of us just bump along through life never taking a chance, never daring to be different, and never actually taking responsibility for the direction of our lives. That is so unfortunate. I recently attended a political event where the candidates were questioned about the way they would address issues around drug addiction, crime and homelessness in our community. It’s a good question, but it occurred to me that they all missed the mark on the approach because they completely misunderstood the source of the problem and the power of decision making.
In my view there are many misconceptions regarding the reasons people turn to addictive substances. There are studies that show that some people may be more predisposed to addiction than others and I certainly wouldn’t argue with that, but at the heart of every self abusive behaviour is a choice. The kind of choice that can alter the direction of a person’s life in the most horrible way. That’s not new information. Everybody who shoots heroin or smokes crack knows it is highly addictive, so telling people how bad it is to take drugs, is not a terribly effective prevention method. It is definitely important to educate people, but education isn’t the most effective deterrent. That’s actually the problem. Trying to deter people from something doesn’t cause them to stop wanting it. Those who are inclined to be self-destructive will engage in that behaviour, regardless of the consequences. The issue isn’t that they don’t know what will happen. The issue is that they don’t actually care. It doesn’t matter what your personal poison is. It can be food, gambling, drugs, alcohol or any number of things. Addictive behaviour cannot be prevented or reversed in the absence of caring about oneself. So, the solution to mending communities plagued by addiction is to teach people to care about themselves. You won’t necessarily reach everyone, but you can put a massive dent in the rate of addiction, homelessness and crime by creating a community of people who feel good about themselves.
Call me a Pollyanna, but my belief is that if you love and respect who you are, then you will find it difficult to do yourself great harm. If you are 100 pounds over weight, an alcoholic, or a drug addict, and are not looking to make changes in your life, then it is most likely you stopped caring about yourself, or that you perhaps never have. On many levels, this may seem like a very simplistic view of addiction, but I do believe that at the very core of all types of addiction or self-abusive behaviour is a broken relationship with the self. Repair that relationship and you repair yourself. Repair that relationship with everyone in an entire community and you will build a strong, vibrant community.
This is at the core of my passion project to bring health and wellness to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. I ask that whoever becomes elected mayor or councillor takes this into consideration and supports initiatives that will help our community thrive. Teach children and adults to love and respect themselves. People must learn to shift their focus away from their shortcomings and take responsibility for the direction of their lives, the way they feel about themselves, and their place in the community. It is wrong to feel that our lives must play out as an extension of our limited capabilities. It is far more valuable to teach people that anything is possible for anyone who dares to try. Life is all about decisions, after all.
Cohesiveness, caring, nurturing, educating, supporting… these are the values we need to embrace as a community and use to guide our decisions. All political representatives should base their decisions and activities on these values. Ask the following questions. Will this decision build cohesiveness in our community? Does this decision demonstrate caring for the well-being of our citizens, environment, etc.? Does this decision allow us to nurture our community in such a way that it will produce a healthy outcome? Are we educating our people so that they are fully informed and able to make decisions that will allow them to thrive? Is this something that will effectively support our citizens? These are simple questions and may seem very lightweight, but I can assure you that if these values are used to guide decisions at any level of government, then the whole world would be a much better place.
Imagine if world leaders made decisions based on building cohesiveness among all nations on the planet. What if politicians only made decisions that supported the well-being of the greater community? What if we all learned to think differently about the role our decisions play in the direction of our lives and the world we live in? What would happen? This has to start somewhere, so why not start it at a municipal level? Changing the values of a community is a process that takes time, but it can be done with the commitment of people who are interested in serving others before themselves. Using a value-based decision-making process that considers the emotional well-being of citizens as the foundation for all decisions is a powerful way to begin the process of healing a broken community. If you kept those values in mind, what things would you add to your community? What would you take away? What messages would you communicate to the members of your community? If you want to dramatically reduce the social problems of poverty, addiction, homelessness and crime, then give people something to feel good about. Give them hope. Show you care by providing adequate support for those with mental health issues. Dare to be different and shape the way people think about their place in their community. Start doing things differently because sameness changes nothing. It is critical that we make a concerted effort to teach people to care about themselves because if you don’t care about yourself, it is pretty hard to really care about anything else.
I am a former public relations professional, adult educator and published author. My life experiences have been rich and have led me to the work I am doing to bring success and fulfillment to people all over the world.
I believe that nothing works well in life if we are not in vibrational harmony with our inner being. Self-destructive behaviours, self-sabotaging behaviours, anger, and control issues indicate that there is a disconnect between the outer self and the divine inner self. Once you heal that relationship, you will discover your career, your business, external relationships, your health, and overall wellness will improve dramatically. Please visit my website www.reneecormier.com for information about what I do and to reach me for support with your goals.
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