What do you stand for and why do I care?
It’s been a year of strong feelings. As I was going through my notes, thinking about what I wanted to write about during this season, I came across something I had written in my business notebook last winter,
“What do you stand for?
How does knowing what you stand for help you?”
That’s it, just the two questions, sitting there, unanswered.
It got me thinking.
What do I stand for? It’s been a year of political polarization, publicizing of social injustice, and scientific dispute as the world faces a global pandemic. If ever a year, this is the year that I feel like it is important to know what I stand for.
Sure we can argue different political viewpoints and claim sides but at the end of the day, I don’t stand for a person or a political party, I don’t stand only for the people who evaluate science through my same lens.
I stand for compassion.
I stand for opportunity and potential.
I stand for personal strength and possibility.
I stand for responsibility, both for my successes and my errors.
I stand for encouragement.
I stand for an ideal. Grounding myself in this can help me maintain satisfaction in who I am and what I do, despite what the circumstances may be around me.
I can stand for these things even if people around me disagree. I can stand for these things imperfectly. Thinking about this with intention focuses me when I’’m buffeted by uncertainty and anxiety. It centers me in the knowledge that no matter what, if I show up standing for these things I will be just fine. This is why it matters, this is HOW it helps me.
This is true for the day to day drama as well. Sometimes it is easier to identify what we stand for when emotions are flying high, when we are seriously affronted by something going on around us. But what about the run of the mill stressful day at work? Or boring day at home? Or irritating day running errands? It may not feel as empowering to patiently wait your turn at the deli or when you work through lunch.
What I stand for is important because of how it makes me feel. I can stand for opportunity by building up my coworkers. I can stand for compassion by listening to a family member vent
without coming back with a story of my own. I can stand for personal strength by doing a great job at work, or sitting down to do my bills at home even when I would rather poke my eyes out. I can stand for responsibility by acknowledging my wins everyday with gratitude and by apologizing quickly when I am in the wrong. I can stand for these things even when there is no national news coverage, when there is just me, measuring me.
What do you stand for? Are you showing up as that person or did it get squelched down with all the pressure you have been under? Or maybe you haven’t really thought about it before. It’s ok. Dig it out, brush it off and polish it bright. It will support you and make you feel much better…
You may even feel proud at the end of the day, no matter what happened.