Her Majesty the Queen’s private conversation has hit the media today regarding alleged comments about rudeness. Everybody has a unique set of personal values, instilled consciously and unconsciously from an early age by close family, friends, teachers, spiritual leaders and cultural influences (the media, writers, artists). If being rude offends, it’s probable that the opposite (being polite) does not. Politeness and respectfulness are valued. What is wrong with having good old-fashioned values around politeness and kindness and respect for other? If more people lived by these, then the world would be a better place.
Sociologists like Morris Massey believe that by the time we are in our early twenties, our values are defined and pretty entrenched. From my own experience, often, when I’m making a decision about something or trying to make sense of a new experience, I hear my auntie Mary or my Mother’s voice! It is as if they are sitting on my shoulder whispering to me that I should ‘do this or that in this way’. It makes me smile, sit up think, ‘what do I really believe here?’ …quite a challenge when for many years, you’ve been inculcated by someone else’s values, not matter how well-intentioned.
We use our values to filter new information, to define and give meaning to the self and the world. For example, one of my personal values is creativity. I not only feel happier when I’m working with people helping to solve a problem or generate ideas to develop something new, I positively seek out opportunities to be creative in organisations that want to do things differently to make a difference. I will filter out any information or experience that does not support my values. For example, I know I would be incredibly unhappy working on a production line banging out widgets to make someone rich, so I’d avoid looking at work like this! Yet, for people who have wealth and learning as a personal value, they may be quite happy in this environment or see it as a stepping stone on the way to personal achievement.
Because I understand the importance of values, I consciously filter out information and experiences that don’t match them. Most people are doing this unconsciously all of the time.
When we aren’t clear what our personal values are, we know how we feel when we meet people or work in places that don’t share our values. It’s a draining, depressing experience. Tedium sets in, we switch off what’s happening around us and we become disengaged, under-perform and can’t wait to be with our friends (who share our values) and to hope to find a job in a place where we feel we ‘fit’.
It has nothing to do with custom or cultural norms. In fact people from very diverse cultures get on brilliantly when they have shared values. Identifying these, finding those who share them and living by them, can make for a happy, contented life. This is energy intelligence applied!
The Queen seems to have mastered the art of living by her values and I think it’s great she can point out where others don’t have the same beliefs, even if it was accidental that the cameras were there!