“By whose standards?” Is a statement that functions as a means to knowledge, responsibility, and self-esteem. Each part being a basis for an individuals personal character. Without any one of these traits that individual cannot expect to achieve and maintain anything he holds to be of value, both emotionally and physically.
In order to live, man must create his own standard of value that both recognizes the instinctual desires brought on by involuntary evolution, and the personal conscious desires they strive for. The instinctual desires include, quenching of hunger and thirst, reproduction, and physical safety. While some of the common personal desires may include, wealth, respect, and love. You may argue that love is a result of the reproduction desire but that is an answer that each individual has to discover on their own.
There is a constant standard of value and morality that each person encounters. This is the standard of any given society. Each society may be radically different in their values, but they’re all similar in that they impose those values in some way on the individual. Every person who intends to live a life must first look at their actions, and choices then recite: “By Who Standards?” No persons have completely identical intentions so the most important line to draw is the line between you’re own standards and others. Knowing where your own values end and someone else’s begin is the key to self-esteem.
Self-esteem is often confused with selfishness. Albeit selfishness is often confused with neglect. Despite the semantics self-esteem is the biological result of achieving your personal values. Self-esteem cannot be obtained from the achievement of values other than your own. Unless (this is the most important notion) the achievement of seeing someone else reach their potential is part of your own personal standard of values. An easy example of this is a school teacher. Their personal values are acknowledged by assisting others in achieving their own. This is where responsibility becomes an active role.
The assistance granted to an individual pursuing their own standards is a double edged sword. In one way, it betters the chance of achievement, however it also dulls the satisfaction of the pursuer which then cannot lead to self-esteem. Which, like I stated previously, is the end result of achieving your values. Those who have not achieved self-esteem from their own values are often seen looking for recognition from outside parties. “Waiting for the applause” so to speak. They hold doors just to hear “Thank you.” but get disgruntled when they’re not acknowledged. This problem is caused by your personal values being contingent on the participation another person. Responsibility, is the key to avoiding this issue. Every person must take responsibility for the achievement of his own values. And where you require assistance, you may only acquire it through consent, and never at the expense of another person. Taking responsibility for your values means that where knowledge is required, knowledge must be gained.
Without the knowledge to grant passage to your achievement, there can be no achievement. A complex mathematical formula can be memorized and recited at the correct time, this does not make it knowledge. Understanding a process and it’s applications is the predecessor to knowledge. Nothing can be understood simply by reciting what others have done previously. To grasp the nature of knowledge you have to grasp the strings that got you there. After which, you can begin to formulate the applications for those strings, thus converting memorization into knowledge.
Responsibility allows for knowledge to become achievement. Achievement results in self-esteem. Values are given by the individual to the achievements. All of which results in a continuous succession of responsibility, knowledge, and self-esteem. This is the life I choose to live, and understand it as happiness.
By my own standards.