I currently do not practice any religion or spiritual practice, although I do have an interest in some non-Christian religions. I was not born into any religion and did not go to any church on a regular basis until my family moved to Utah when I was 10. My dad never believed in religion and my mom was a follower, and I followed my mom into religion. We both had guilt complexes and somehow been let to believe you were bad if you weren’t part of a religion, so we joined the Mormon church because everyone else was Mormon.
Eventually, I “grew out” of my beliefs, but I didn’t become bitter toward them as many do. I’m not a Mormon hater, but I have current and former friends that are. They either have Mormon spouses or they live/have lived in Utah. With that said, I do hate the intolerant views many Mormon’s have of “non-members” and treat the Mormon church as an exclusive club where anyone that’s not a part is not a worthy member of society. However, that’s a human flaw that many humans have with their personal beliefs, no matter what that belief is. Christian or not, religious or not, democrat or republican or not, liberal or conservative, etc. While the Mormon church does teach that it’s the one and only “true” church and only they are right, they still teach that they should “love one another”, just as Jesus did. Just a good amount of church goers just see the fact that they are following the one true religion and want everything in their world to conform to that one true religion, which has made the Utah political climate what it is. But that is (maybe) a story for another time.
With digressions aside, there are some solid truths and values that I still hold to today; universal values that I personally believe make people better, happier, and make the world a better place if they are followed. These are:
1. Be responsible for yourself. Do what you can on your own. Ask for help when you need it, but if you ALWAYS need help with the same things, maybe you need to rethink what you are doing. Pay your bills. If you can’t, ask for help, but if you can’t make it without constant financial help, then rethink what you are spending your money on. If it’s too much debt, reduce that debt. Get rid of what you don’t need. Don’t blame others for ALL your problems, and only blame them if you have no control. But still determine what you can do to solve your problems, regardless of fault or blame.
2. Be prepared. Keep a food supply and other necessities “just in case”. Also keep a healthy savings account for unexpected job loss, expenses, etc. Don’t constantly live in excess and constantly whine about always living on the edge and that you can lose everything at the drop of a hat.
3. Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. If you don’t want people to think you are pathetic, stupid, or are bad, don’t treat everyone else like they are losers if they don’t do everything you think they should be doing. If you want them to respect you, respect them. If you want them to treat you kindly, treat them kindly. This includes in private. Don’t bad mouth others behind their back if you don’t want the same. If you want people to appreciate you, then truly appreciate them. No guarantee that you will be treated as you want, BUT at least you know that you are being fair and unprejudiced. And after all, you can only control yourself, and filling yourself with hate/dislike/disgust for those that are not like you ends up poisoning YOU. And when that happens, does it actually matter what type of people “they” are if you, yourself is poisoned?
4. Help others, after you have taken care of yourself. It is very difficult to help others when you need help, and I’ve learned that the hard way. In my current relationship life, we spent every resource (monetary and otherwise) before we had it, and still proceeded to have our own animal rescue against my better judgement considering we didn’t have outside support. We still can’t support ourselves and the rescue properly and always have to beg for volunteers and monetary help. It’s my belief you have to practice 1-3 before this step is affective. I was convinced that this belief was wrong. Or rather, I just gave up trying to explain why this belief is right and necessary because my partner is convinced that I am always wrong. And here we are, on the verge of losing everything at any moment because we can’t keep our heads above water.