Bootstraps: Core values we fall back on in a time of need


Many of our personal core values and attitudes are handed down from our parents, who got their values from their parents.  Values are the things most important to us in life. Values are things like perseverance, patience, and service. They can also be things like competitiveness, money, and work. A value that is grounded in our pioneer heritage is independence.  Our great-grandmother may have made it across the plains pushing a handcart with the family piano in it all by herself. We are inspired by the story and aspire for this independent pioneer spirit for ourselves. That’s a value. 

Another value is that of service. We learn at church and school and from our family that it is important to serve others. We follow the example of preparing meals for those who are sick, raising money for charity, providing help to those who are in need. We give our time and our material resources to benefit another. Service is a value. 

What happens when we find ourselves in need? Maybe there aren’t enough groceries to get through the month, maybe we are suffering with a low mood that we can’t seem to pick ourselves up from, or maybe we are experiencing bullying from someone at school. We may find our personal value of independence gets in the way of asking for help for ourselves. If you think about It – you are contradicting yourself if you believe it is good to give help, but not to receive it. 

It’s OK ask for help. We don’t have to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We are wired for connection. We are wired to help each other and receive help. In truth, the grandmother who made it across the plains with the piano probably did not do it all on her own. She helped others and received help for herself. 

If you consider it, giving service and receiving help are the same coin.  Social researcher Brené Brown put it this way: “Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”

Try this:  Google search a list of personal core values, like this one: .

What are your top five values? Is it as important to you to take care of yourself as it is to take care of others?

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