Display Your Values In How You Live


When we first moved to Tucson, Arizona, from Texas, our family went through the uncomfortable necessity of finding a family physician. Being totally new to the city, I asked some of our new friends for their recommendations. I set up an appointment with one of the doctors whose name I was given.

It was my first and last visit.

When I went into his office, everything was very professional and the atmosphere was fine. I was immediately disappointed, though, when the doctor walked in to see me—because he was obese. Now, before you think I am prejudiced against people who are overweight, understand that I’ve had my own struggles in that area (I’m not sure why, but ice cream always tastes better in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep). So it’s not that I’m against overweight people at all, but I am against my personal physician telling me to watch my health and well-being when it’s abundantly clear he doesn’t value his own health. I recognize there are many who have weight issues for reasons that are beyond their control, but in my brief conversation with this physician, I realized that was not the case for him. He was preaching to me about diet and exercise while giving it no place of value in his own life.

If you don’t live it, you don’t value it.

It reminds me of what my dad often said to me when I was growing up. I’d see him doing something he’d told me not to do, and he’d say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Maybe you had parents who said the same thing or you have said it to your children. Problem is, it doesn’t work. What’s really being said is, “I want you to value this, even though I don’t.”

To say we value something isn’t enough.

Lip service does not prove we value anything. If we don’t live what we say, we may think we value something, even though we don’t. When talking to others about their values, it’s easy to discover what they truly value. When someone says they value living a healthy lifestyle, a few quick questions will reveal the truth. “Do you exercise?” “Do you eat right?” If the answer is “No,” they don’t really value their health. They like the idea of it, but it’s not a value because what we truly value is not only displayed in how we think but also how we live.

(This blog is adapted from my book Life Palette)