Recently, while perusing the website Quora, I stumbled upon a contemplative question posed under the category "Spirituality and Personal Religion." I am reposting the question here, along with my personal answer, for my readers to contemplate and/or offer their personal feedback.
Question: What can we do when our desire and values conflict?
If our values are in conflict with our desires, as often seems to be the case, it is a warning sign that we may not be living authentically. Our values are deep-rooted in us, yet many of us follow our desires instead. To live authentically, we must re-evaluate our desires, as well as our values, and make a conscious choice whether to act in accordance with our values or to act against what we BELIEVE to be our values.
Ask yourself: "Are my desires merely short-term desires or "whims" that will bring me temporary pleasure but long-lasting conflict, regret or misery? If my values are in conflict with my desires, what is the basis of my values? Are they values instilled in me by others, or through my upbringing, that I have not internalized?" If they are truly your values, your conviction will be so strong you will be able to justify them without hesitation. Your desires, on the other hand, may seem strong at the immediate moment, but choose to reflect on them rather than opting for "immediate gratification." You may find the desire waning in intensity, much like a craving, or you may experience anxiety, but ultimately you must make a choice, so take the time to make the "right one", the one that, in the end, will strengthen your character rather than weaken, bring you peace of mind rather than conflict, and make you smile on the inside rather than frown.
~ Lisa Pearlman 7/14/13 (Words and Photo Credit)