How to Explore & Understand Value or Quality in Life

Value or Quality has been a long standing complex part of life. What is quality, what is value? What makes life or gives our lives quality that we can value and appreciate?

There are many times when things seem to take a different light or sense of importance and when innocent or pure value or quality sometimes seems present in something, or sometimes completely absent.

Part of the problem is simply that when our experiences have no value, we cannot appreciate them. When we cannot appreciate what we have, we can fall into depression and unhappiness that our life is of no worth or achieved nothing.

This problem creates misery for many. The way to resolve it is to open the whole problem up, for within the problem like so many others, is a solution that can work for us as individuals.


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    Start by examining what you feel is a quality experience in your own life. This will require you to think primarily about times in your life when things seemed to have quality or value and then look rationally at the opposite times when they didn't. Select one of these to test, preferable one that had a lot of value to you, because these are easier to handle without creating unpleasant feelings. Look carefully at the memory, firstly to see if it is still fresh and accurate and not too dulled over a long time. Here it is best to compare the two - what underwrites the ones we feel are lacking or not quality moments were the ones where there was an aspect of dissatisfaction present in the moment, or afterwards on evaluation. It is important to explore this dissatisfaction because this is the central aspect of every time we feel unhappy.
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    Further explore the varieties of this dissatisfaction. Consider that there might be the case where the event seemed exciting at first, but over long term handling or experience it seems dull, like a "commodity". For example, you might find at first going out for a meal to be exciting and fun, but if you have to buy your meal everyday, it soon seems ordinary and loses interest. Where a meal cooked by yourself or by someone you care for is a different experience. Consider how much money was involved in the experience as this can affect the quality or value. There is a case where a person may hold the view have said that if you don't charge for services, no one will appreciate its value. What really happens however is that the cost paid for it dulls the experience, because the money itself has to be earned so it has its own relative cost to us as individuals. It returns to being a commodity as you are paying for it, therefore you have an expectation of your money (or ultimately, your efforts) getting what they are worth, or a return of investment. Both parts actually make quite special things seem very ordinary and unimportant and the experience of quality and sense of value is lost. It is important to consider however this exercise really is not about expecting people to do things for nothing, for the flipside is that when you value something, you are often more likely to bid higher for it to attain that goal. Additionally, many needed services just won't exist without money to cover their costs, so the balance is between money making operations, or exploitative and the differences between them. Part of the problem and indeed the solution is this same relative cost and return process. When we feel it wasn't worth the cost, or that we paid more than it was worth we are dissatisfied.
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    Consider times that you have found satisfaction in doing something by yourself. A simple case is working in the home or garden. When you decorate your space yourself, it feels so much more genuine than if you paid someone to do it for you. This is because of your personal involvement and efforts to achieve a goal, goal setting and achievement being a big booster to our personal confidence, management skills and personal satisfaction. Consider likewise if your selected experience you were unsatisfied with had a mental or emotional "cost". It may have been you were manipulated, pressured, begged or flattered into doing something that if you had a choice you would say no to, or offered a product that while may have been good quality, seems overpriced. Many methods exist in coercing a person to do something they don't want. This has a terrible cost to both sides. The alternative is when you do something for someone else, or vice versa (without any obligation or expectation, but just out of friendship, kindness or compassion), or share moments with people in a beneficial context it seems so much more precious and these are the memories that people cherish. This is because there is no physical or mental "cost" paid, or that the cost had a return of satisfaction. This is well reflected in people who follow a virtue system, volunteer their time or live a little more frugally within their economic means. The sacrifice of personal time and efforts, or practicing self control against our easier desires gives in effect a return of the investment of effort. These practitioners typically feel more satisfaction and more frequent satisfaction and so develop a sense of life-quality, but also appreciate things and people wisely and are consequently appreciated and valued by others. This gives satisfaction which increases the sense of value and quality.
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    Consider the alternative cases where you are prepared to pay whatever the cost is. This will help you explore the limitations, or ways to more wisely practice activities that will increase value and not compromise it. When we are driven to extremes about what may seem virtuous or good actions will compromise and happiness. This is because we no longer have any control - our feelings effectively turned rogue and we lose that self direction. There is a host of areas where this applies, it may be a social or community aspects, religious or spiritual, environmental, economical, identity, political and nationality issues you may be very passionate about. Its all about reflecting that while these may be good things within themselves, is it possible that a person may have such strong desires to get involved even if it goes too far and breaks the law. There are cases more mundane such as you want to buy a particular type of car, so you over-extend your finances to be able to get it, even when you only use it for something a more economical car would be appropriate. When it has reached the extremes, primarily self importance has over-ruled which drives people to do these actions, which can be reflected in how easy it is for a person to step back and let go. There are cases where a person just wants to be personally involved for it has become "personal", or through peer-pressure is encouraged into doing it. This also has a terrible cost, because it develops into the feeling that nothing becomes important anymore (in order to achieve that goal). Cases also exist similar to addictions where because of the feeling of power we gain, these cases may constantly seek a way to be involved and express their feelings. The return of investment can also be corrupted - A person may also go into the habit that they will only do something for someone else, but only if they get something in return. Quality is diminished very easily and its largely when it is tainted by greed or obligation, which reduces the true satisfaction that builds wisdom and happiness.
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    Think about this: Proportionate to the attachment or passion you have with anything is equal to the dangers most people are willing to go to, this is most self-evident in wars. Also equal is the amount of pain and despair you may feel if it doesn't go the way you want (such as if you lose what you had that "investment" in).
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    Consider experiences you've had where simple or free things seemed to have the most value. It might be something like a picnic with family or friends, doing some basic housekeeping for someone you care about, growing a plant or cooking a meal from scratch, or tidying up any clutter you may have at home to give yourself some fresh space. Whatever occurs you from your experiences. Now imagine that same event, but change it slightly, such as if you were obliged to do those things that you didn't want to, or that you were doing it to get something, or that you were possessed by the urge to "buy it" when you really didn't need it. What has changed? Did the feeling stay the same, or did it become slightly tainted and quality or value is lost? This merely is a practical reflection or test you can do to test the above sections for yourself. The goal now is to learn when you are being manipulated or greedy and so be able make a stand to say "thanks, but no thanks". This isn't easy, but you have to ask yourself if the small unpleasant feeling of saying no, is more or less than the price paid for saying yes. This is hard because many cases exist where a person is manipulated by their close friends and family, but are afraid they will end up alone as they don't have anyone else. On one hand its certain that this is a low quality life, essentially being used as a doormat, on the other it is not unreasonable for the person to want to tolerate it for the sake of keeping the relationships. This simply is the cost that must be paid for the association as it is.
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    Beware of the extremes in order to best make changes in your life to give the most benefit. As the mind is inclined to extreme sides dancing from one to the other, there is a lot of various ways this may manifest but some common options to consider are: It is possible a person may suddenly feel horrified at all the misery, misfortunes, manipulation and exploitation in this life and want to get as far away as possible from it, whether they run away from people, or take their own life. As it is a central part of ordinary human interaction, it can't be avoided without becoming an recluse and that can make us cold and lonely when we shun others. Diving in and sacrificing everything for others may make us vulnerable for the times when things don't go to plan. We can easily be hurt far more by being too generous. Dedicating your life trying to change people. As it is an effective method (after all, only until a person realizes they are being exploited will they know), so any extreme response leads into horror or misery, so less quality of life - people are resistant to change from outside, few will understand and even those that do are unlikely to implement difficult change. The only way to handle it is make a choice to let go and do what you feel is right. Taking one or several aspects too seriously or personally. This is what leads us to harm. Things that when wisely considered are rich in value become meaningless or even obstacles to achieve our desires.
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    Try to find ways to improve the quality of your life and make it fun, without their being a harm factor. Once you feel comfortable in saying no or yes according to the event, see what you can do to make life more interesting and better quality. This might be to learn something new, change bad habits, do something for yourself or other people without obligation, while keeping a balance so you aren't becoming another doormat. Then you are a free agent, because you have the choice to be. It is important to accept that life is not easy, nor that it owes us a living. We do not have complete will power to achieve everything, our willpower is naturally limited. By accepting our limitations and accepting that dis-satisfaction is therefore inevitable or unavoidable in life, we no longer will be that effected or hurt when it does happen. This two way system on letting go of the dissatisfaction, as well as implementing ways to improve what we experience is dependent on understanding how the dis-satisfaction arises in the first place, once that ignorance has been penetrated then it no longer is a demon in the closest or monster under the bed, because it has been understood for what it is.


      • This is a complex issue and can be pretty much found everywhere. The whole central factor and goal behind it is to Try to come to terms with things as they are and to not do things you would regret. Rationality is an important aspect to resolve the problem. If the facts don't match the theory, there is something wrong with the theory.

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Categories: Philosophy and Religion