"I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity and her flaming self respect and it's these things I'd believe in even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn't all that she should be . . .
I love her and that's the beginning and end of everything." -F. Scott Fitzgerald
Oftentimes I'm criticized for my "old-fashioned ideals." Sometimes, I have had my friends and family laugh at my values and scoff at the things I hold dear.
I'm a girl with old-fashioned values in a very modern world.
In a society that is constantly telling us who we should be, it's hard to keep our own individual values from slipping away. It takes a certain kind of courage to continue to believe in things that are seemingly lost in a sea of characteristics that the world tells us we ought to have.
Some people sacrifice too many of their values for the things the world tells us we "need": money, prosperity, beauty, success, intimacy... the list is never-ending. Rather than take a step back and ask ourselves, do I really need this? so many of us simply jump on the bandwagon of what everyone else is doing. Humanity justifies itself in so many things simply because there are others who have already done it.
What has happened to our ideals?
F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, once stated the above quotation about his wife, Zelda. He loved her for her qualities and her values, choosing to ignore the world's perceptions of who they thought she was.
My justification for my values is simple: I want to be remembered and loved for who I am as a person, not for superficial items. I don't make a lot of money; my prosperity isn't determined by how many belongings I have; my beauty shouldn't be judged by my outward appearance; and my success isn't for anyone else to decide.
I'm proud of my "old-fashioned ideals." I believe in...
...being kind to everyone. You don't know the battles they are fighting, so how can you judge them?
...following God's word and living a Christian life. I'm not perfect and I know I will fail.
...doing what is right, especially when it is hard.
...learning for the sake of learning, not for personal gain or success.
...understanding that physical beauty will fade, and that's okay. It's your inward beauty that matters most.
...being resilient courageous, for you never know when obstacles will arrive.
And finally, in Fitzgerald's words, I believe it's important to have "flaming self-respect." After all, if you cannot respect yourself, how will others respect you?
I encourage you to seek values that you can be proud of, even if they are old-fashioned. Make a list of them and post them where you will remember them. Don't let others laugh; keep your chin held high. After all, at the end of the day, your values and your self-respect will be remembered. Be loved for what you believe in and the rest will fall away.