When you’re thinking about all the great things you stand for, all the things you hope to accomplish, the way you want others to treat you, the way you want to improve treatment to yourself and all the divine work you don’t usually assign a price to those feelings and thoughts. The thing is that in practice, every day, we are assigning prices to our values and health, wellness, and life.
When you think about what you’re worth, how much do you believe you’re actually worth? How much would you pay to live and abide by your values? Everything you own, purchase, or use is a dollar amount that you have put on what your beliefs and values are. If you feel that you should be treated with respect but give your money to institutions that have a reputation for disrespecting their customers, then what is the cost of your value system? Believing that just and fair treatment is for everyone sounds great if you are also supporting businesses that act compatibly with this belief.
Sometimes it is easy to forget the nuances of your values in the context of your world. If you are against the destruction of the rainforest, against the continued decimation of great ape populations, against the war in the Congo and other areas of Africa, and against child soldiers, you would also be against the mining of diamonds, coltan and other rare metals and “natural resources” in that area of the world. It’s easy to say you’re against these things but when you use a cell phone, computer, ipad, or any electronic device, you are supporting this entire paradigm! It becomes a question of what is more important to you in your life: your values and beliefs or convenience?
Awareness is key when you are making choices.
Think about your cell phone carrier. Often we take it as a given that some carriers have terrible customer service or that paying a lot of money per month is just the way it has to be amongst many other generalizations. Why as paying customers do we have to accept that terrible customer service is just something that comes with the territory? If you make minimum wage ($8 for calculating purposes) and you pay $85 a month for your cell phone, that is about 11 hours of your time to pay for a phone every month! If you need to buy a new phone, not only are you agreeing to a 2-year contract (most likely) which adds up to a commitment of $2,040 or at least a $200-$400 cancellation fee, you are also paying up to $250 out of pocket. This works out to 255 hours of your time over 2 years, 25-50 hours of your time to cancel, and 31 hours of your time to buy a new phone. All in all, if you don’t cancel your line but use your phone within your contract, you’ll have invested about $2300 or about 290 hours of your time to pay for everything. Of course you can calculate your own costs based on what you actually make. It’s not just a dollar amount! Everything you do, everything you purchase is energy that you have spent somehow. When you think about at least your phone contract this way, the company you give your money to better be ready and willing to serve you when you are clearly serving them!
If your phone company refuses to help you and sneaks in all sorts of charges, fees, and tries to do things like lock you into a new 2-year contract for changing your phone plan, charge you “migration” fees for switching your phone number or any of the other ridiculous exercises phone companies engage in, this does not sound like a healthy relationship. If a phone company were a partner, and this partner was doing to you what this corporation is, it would be considered abuse. Especially if you called to complain and were told how valued you were but nothing was going to change (like an abuser saying they’ll never do it again if the partner doesn’t make them). This kind of behaviour is considered unacceptable between people yet it is going on all the time in the relationships between company and consumer! What is the difference? Because companies provide a service there is an acceptance that this mistreatment is valid. Lovers provide a service: companionship, love, support, stability, and many other human traits. A lover acting irresponsibly with their partner’s feelings, cheating, lying, tricking, and stealing, however, is someone you’re told immediately to get rid of! So why do we take this treatment from companies?
There are many reasons people stay in an abusive relationship, however, the message is always the same: you must leave! You must leave this abusive relationship where you are losing yourself, you are being destroyed. Others can see that you are full of worth and beauty despite the fact that you’re accepting this idea that you’re worthless. Others tell you to leave an abusive partnership because they see that you have lost yourself. You, in an abusive relationship, might not be able to see the abuse though you might feel there is something fundamentally wrong with this relationship. Be who you truly are. You can’t be yourself in an abusive relationship and you can’t realize who you are or what your worth is until you leave.
Our jobs, our grocery stores, our phone companies, clothing stores, fast food restaurants, co-workers, and all of the hundreds of places we shop, visit, and decisions we make are all relationships that create a bigger picture of our lives. If our vision for life is to be healthy, fit, happy, living in an environment of peace and nature yet our actual life is sickness, sadness, chaos and indoors, we are not in alignment with our vision. This misalignment of vision and reality will always cause pain until it is reconciled.
It may seem impossible to realize your vision for your life because of limiting beliefs. Maybe you don’t think you deserve it– a rich cushy life (you may be thinking, ch’yeah THAT would be nice! Well what’s stopping you?). Maybe you think that you must work hard and that all this hard work comes with the territory of living. These are the very thoughts that keep you from truly experiencing the life that you want (the one that you joke about, the one you think about, the one that you mention from time to time– hopefully you know which life this is!).
Working a job that treats you poorly, doesn’t value your contribution, won’t give you a raise, or anything that leaves you feeling drained, stuck and unhappy at the end of your work shift is not a lifestyle that reflects your worth. If this lifestyle reflected your worth, it would leave you feeling so happy, free, and valued! The thought of leaving is scary– what if you don’t make enough money, what if you can’t find another job, what if you can’t pay your bills, what if you cause suffering because of your decision? If you believe you’re worth the raise, you want to be valued, you believe that you can be happy, that you should be able to travel, to take vacations, to have medical coverage or whatever it may be (and even more!) then it is within your right to have that! This belief in your worth can’t change the fear that will arise (it can be scary to go after what you really want when you’ve been thinking or believing your entire life it’s silly to do that). Believing that you’re worth it simply is one step in living in alignment with that belief.
To accept anything less than what you believe you’re worth is putting a price on your values. You are saying you’re only worth it to a point and that point is where you’re at now.
If you say: I should get paid a thousand dollars an hour. I’m so worth it! I should get bonuses in yachts and all-expense paid vacations too! What is this crap about not getting paid for vacation and having to contribute 5% of my paycheck to medical coverage? I should get medical coverage for free.
If you accept: But I make $8 an hour ’cause I’m pretty much a loser who can’t get a real job and the closest I’ll ever get to a yacht is cleaning one. Psh vacation! What’s that?! Maybe I’ll go to Vegas because it’s cheap… I wish I had medical but I haven’t had that since high school… sigh.
Whatever you say doesn’t mean anything until what you accept becomes aligned with that. If you say you want something but you don’t accept that you’re truly allowed to have this, you will not have it. You might make it happen for a brief moment and be amazed until your acceptance no longer aligns with your vision. When your vision of your life no longer aligns with your vision of your worth, you will not be able to receive what you desire and what you’re truly worth.
There will always be a good deal, a great job or a nice boss but do any of these things matter when they come at a great personal cost to you? None of those things change the fact that you aren’t taking responsibility for your happiness and bliss or letting others manipulate you to their own benefit. So step up to the plate– live the life that you deserve. Know that you deserve this life. And don’t compromise your happiness especially when you’re paying for it. 🙂