To find value in others, first value yourself

December 28, 2016

 Everyone wants to feel valued. I know I do, don’t you? All lives are important—yours, mine, everyone’s. So what would happen if you actually valued everyone in your life? What would be the impact of that kind of positive attitude on your family, coworkers, neighbors, and community? What if, in response to your kindness, other people respected you in return? Can you imagine living in a world like that?

Well, surprise! I do know what it is like because I lived such a life many lifetimes ago. My soul remembers living the life of a Native woman in a small tribe during the time before Europeans arrived. We lived in a canyon with tall cliffs on both sides of narrow, sandy paths that twisted through the rocky landscape like a maze. My role in that tightknit group was to fetch water from the river at the bottom of the canyon. I loved this task because everyone was so grateful when I would deliver life-sustaining water. I felt special and needed.

Everyone in our canyon community was valued. Why? Because everyone had something to contribute. Even if they were sick, too young or too elderly to work, physically or mentally challenged, they still had basic human value and we could learn from them.

Is that the way people are treated now in your community? In modern society, there are plenty of examples of people) who are not valued. Think of the homeless, neglected and abused children, teenagers who are kicked out of the house, adults who get divorced and hate each other, senior citizens who are ignored or  tucked away and forgotten. Think about minority groups who are treated as if their lives don’t matter, women who are battered.

What about your family? How do you show your appreciation of them? Imagine coming home and when you walk in the door, you let your family know in your own way how much you value them—children, teenagers, parents, grandparents. (If you live by yourself, imagine a family gathering instead.) Now, imagine your loved ones reciprocating your kindness by showing their appreciation to you in their own way. How would that feel?

Today’s Loving Suggestion: How do you show appreciation to people with whom you are not that familiar—neighbors, store workers, other drivers, complete strangers, etc.? Are you finding this question difficult to answer? Why is that? What makes it so hard for people to treat each other with basic human dignity and respect? Perhaps it is because humans tend to focus on their own needs before the needs of others.

Ok, then let’s work with it instead of against it. Maybe the way to start valuing others is to first value ourselves. Sit down and make a list of the things you value about yourself. This is no time to be modest.

Think of all the people who showed you kindness over the years and how that kindness helped you develop and grow, mentally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and socially. Feel grateful that so many people taught you so many lessons in life. Now that you have validated yourself, you can better validate others. With a spirit of gratitude, it is time to give back. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It can start with a simple smile. Have you noticed how few people you see smiling out in the community? Let’s change that. Make it one of your goals in life to share your smile generously with those you meet.

If you have followed any of the suggestions in the Sir Rennity feature, I would love to hear your stories. Please email me at I will keep your letters private unless you request that they be published.

The Sir Rennity feature is intended to provide gentle guidance for your life. These articles hold no intrinsic meaning. You give meaning to them based on the value you place on them, so the words here are
meaningless unless you put them into practice.

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