What is Value?
If you said “How much money something is worth” then you’re only half right.
Value is worth; plain and simple. In our ever more materialistic society we often equate value to money. We can tell someone how something wasn’t worth the money, or was a good bargain! Regardless of the price tag hanging off something, it doesn’t necessarily portray a value.
How do we value ourselves?
Take employment. Have you ever felt undervalued at work? I know I have, and I know it crops up on our “Temperature Checks” (a questionnaire we get sent out to see how everyone’s feeling). Now is this feeling simply about pay? It could be, depending on your job, but more often than not I’d assume it isn’t and I’d assume that a pay increase would only momentarily affect your sense of value. I’d actually assume it’s because management make decisions with, what appears to be, little foresight to your well-being, or it could be the sick days they wont let you take because there’s a deadline coming up. It could be the sheer amount of work they expect you to get through with no respite, or it could simply be that it’s not the job for you and it doesn’t let you show off your skills.
Value, it then seems, is actually akin to effort and time. How much time and effort someone puts into us is how valued we feel, and how much time and effort we put into something is how valuable it is to us.
How should we show we value others?
We can also apply this to other people around us. If you really value the people around you then you go to effort for them, you put the time in to see them. I always tend to spoil people, I like to spend my money on someone who isn’t me, but recently I’ve realised this can fall a little empty sometimes. I bought Kirsty a mountain of gifts for Christmas, but not many of them held too much value. I realise more that the time we spend together, the two of us just together, the effort of tidying up or cooking dinner, without having to be asked, represents value so much more than a new pendant or teddy bear will ever do. Does that mean the gifts were unwanted? No of course not. It does, however, mean they weren’t as valuable as I originally gave them credit for; I’d been convinced a higher price tag was equal to a higher worth.
How should we show ourselves the same value?
Likewise we can attribute this to ourselves. Take a moment to think about how you usually show your value yourself. Many people will treat themselves, which is great! But many people treat themselves by spending money. Maybe you buy that book you’ve thought was a little too expensive, maybe you buy a desert that isn’t in your diet plan. Again we often try to spoil and treat ourselves with these things that have a monetary cost. There’s actually nothing wrong with that occasionally! But, if it’s all we do, it can lead to that empty feeling I mentioned above. I know whenever I feel down I do a bit of retail therapy, I buy countless games I never play, and, for a few fleeting moments, I feel better… it doesn’t ever last. If instead Value = Effort/Time we should be spoiling ourselves by taking time out of our day to relax, by practicing yoga or mediation, or by going for a walk or a run. Of course money can help, perhaps we go on holiday, or we buy a film we sit down to relax with, but in these instances money is an enabler, not a showing of worth.
We can also show ourselves we value our dreams. Mine is to become an author, a photographer, and to have a blog. I take time out of my day and put effort into making those dreams become reality. I show myself that I am worth my own effort and time. In the constant pressure of the daily grind, our minds so full of obligations and chores, we can lose sight of this and, sometimes subconsciously, we feel less valued; we feel unfulfilled.
An old adage is:
But what if we started thinking things are worth how much time and effort we’ll put in. What if we showed our love for each other by doing things we wouldn’t normally, by being mindful, by looking after ourselves and them. Even old Publilius above didn’t state it had to be paid for with money; maybe he meant time. It’s just something to think about!