Inspired by Life

What is Your Philosophy on Life?
Just recently, I was asked to write an ethics statement for my views on education, and my mind kept jumping way out of scope to the values I hold in life. I had to squeeze them all down to fit into a classroom philosophy of teaching, but my life values are something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since that assignment.

I’ve never really taken a lot of time to think about what my philosophy on life is. I spend so much time living life, that it’s often hard to sit and think about why I’ve lived it the way I have and what influences me to make the decisions I’ve made. If I could go back and redo some of the decisions that I’ve made in life, I might; however, I think a lot of those experiences have helped shape me into who I am and who I want to become. Part of me would fear losing those pieces of myself too much to change them. I think another reason I’ve never really taken the time to write it out is because it feels a lot like boasting about the qualities about myself that I think are spectacular. That’s definitely not the case, though, because while I hold these values, I don’t always live up to them. I fall short of what I consider a good person to be constantly, and I guess that’s part of being human.

So, what’s my philosophy on life? I can definitely tell you that I have a huge passion for people. Chances are, even if I’ve never met you, I’d like you by default. I’d want you to be happy, and I’d wish you the best in whatever path you choose to follow. I believe in unconditional love, and if it’s not unconditional, it’s not real. There is no such thing as “I’ll love you if….”. And, my personal favorite (insert sarcasm here) is “I’ll love the sinner but hate the sin”. In some circumstances, it’s almost relevant, but in other cases, it’s a crutch to use for hate. I’m not saying that you should turn a blind eye to reality, but you can still love someone and disagree with them.

We don’t get to choose our emotions. One of my favorite quotes is: “You can close your eyes to things you don’t wish to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t wish to feel”. It rings true for my life. I’ve gone through massive periods of self-hate and I’ve spent a larger portion of my life trying to change who I was than I’ve spent living and loving myself for who I really am. I had to learn the hard way that the way I feel, the way I love, and the emotions I feel are not choices that are up to me. My mind worked all those factors out on its own. I can try to shut those feelings down, but doing so only leads to more unhappiness.

I also have a tendency to fall in love very quickly. An emotion that often gets me in trouble with myself. Sometimes I wish I had an off-switch for the emotions I feel, but deep down I know that they’re just a part of who I am. 

I believe in the right of every individual to live a happy life to the fullest extent. I believe there’s always a better option that ending a life. I don’t believe in the death penalty…ever. Who are we to decide who lives and who dies? Everyone deserves a chance at life…even the vilest of people. There’s always a chance at redemption, but that chance is taken away when someone else decides your life should end.

I believe in kindness. Another favorite quote of mine (I have a lot of favorites. Quotes are kind of my thing. People say some amazing things, and I’m inspired by their words) is “Character is revealed in how you treat those who can do nothing for you.” I’ve been told that I have a huge heart (definitely not trying to toot my own horn….sometimes I don’t always feel like I’m a good person at all), but it’s really because I want people to be happy. Everyone deserves that in life. I don’t believe there’s a single person in the world that was placed here to be unhappy.

I believe in helping others when the opportunity strikes and not just when it benefits me to do so. If you’re there for someone in their time of need, you’ll never lack a special friend when you’re in need of one. I’d take a bullet for any of my friends and trade my life for any of them.

I believe that people never stop learning and that making mistakes is the best way to learn. Trial and error, I suppose. Every day is a gift that holds the potential for something new and exciting. I’ve wasted a lot of days, but I try to take time for myself every day to reflect and process my thoughts. Some days are worse than others, but even the bad days are opportunities to grow.

I’m human. I mess up a lot, and though I believe in these values, I often don’t live up to them. I say hurtful things to people, and I don’t always treat people the way I should. I often forget to put myself in others’ shoes, and I judge others without knowing their situation. It’s hard to admit, but I’m probably that person more times than not despite my desire to be all of those other things that I talked about; however, regardless of that fact, I still desire to be a better person everyday.

~Joshua

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