I am sure we have all at one point heard or said the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’. A lot of times it is said when trying to tell someone off(often our nearest & dearest) when they have failed to do something they promised to do. I know because I say it to my children A LOT!
It got me thinking about how easy it is to point out this failing in others but how much harder it is to recognise in ourselves.
I believe most people have a core value and belief system which is the lens through which they view and live life.
This is even more amplified in today’s tech age as we now have a wide variety of ways to actually tell others what we believe. Facebook posts,Instagram stories,twitter threads,WhatsApp status etc!
Everywhere you turn in the online space,you are telling and being told beliefs and values. Faith, health,fitness, veganism,environmental issues,social justice, politics etc. You can’t escape being told what others believe.
I know a lot people say ‘don’t believe what you see on social media’ and I would be naive to think that you should. But fully accurate or not,you can sort of deduce a persons interests or value systems from what they post or talk about on their social media feeds.
Leaving the online space, we are also being told what others believe everywhere we turn.Companies are now putting a lot of effort into identifying with a certain set of values. Almost every organisation now wants to be seen as ‘diverse & inclusive’.Countries and cities are telling us what they want to be known for. A lot of money and effort is going into being seen as a ‘green’ country. Sadiq Khan(mayor of London) often always says something about ‘multicultural’ London in every interview I have ever watched. It tells you that it is important in some quarters that it is perceived as such (we know not everyone like this !).Even in our one to one day to day conversations,we hear glimpses of what people believe are core to who they are.
A lot is being said!A lot!
The other week, I was looking and trying to edit my social media feeds and it got me looking through a lot of my old posts. I found the picture below that I posted sometime last year. The words really stayed with me and really made me reflect on what it means to live your values.
Beliefs,values,moral convictions are just the starting point. The end point and ultimately the most important point for me, are the things we actually DO as a result of these beliefs. Our ACTIONS matter.
The bible tells me that faith without works is dead! And the bible is basically a book of faith! So if a book of faith tells us that we need to actually DO, it tells me that the actions we take ultimately illustrate and reflect those values and beliefs we go about telling people that we have.
If you have been following this blog for a while ,you probably know that I tend to start my reflections with myself. So I looked at my social media feed,I looked at a lot of the things I proclaim I believe and actually tell others about and started squaring them to my daily actions. And no, it wasn’t really as balanced as my talkative self portrays.
For the sake of practicality(I know people can’t really relate to vague anecdotes) I will share one thing that I am taking conscious action on. I am very passionate about social mobility & equality of opportunity especially for children of the less privileged. I strongly believe all children deserve a decent education. To be clear I don’t mean all children must go to university but il not bore you with details of my thoughts on how this can be achieved (maybe another blog for another day). I believe this should be regardless of who their parents are and where they were born. I talk about it a lot and if you on go on my social media feeds you will probably have seen a number of posts/stories on this.
I say and believe this will all my heart but I now realise there are areas of my life that are not fully in line with what I say I believe .
I buy cheap fashion.If we are being honest with ourselves we know more often than not child labour is involved in cheap fashion.
A lot of the brands who do cheap fashion swear that they are all ethically sourced and the people who make them are paid a living wage bla bla but deep down we know this is highly unlikely for the prices they are sold at.
There is a strong possibility that some of these items are made by children. Children that I say should be also given the same chances that my children have. Children who are probably working when they should be in school. And no I don’t buy the argument that children working rather than being in school teaches entrepreneurial skills. In a lot of developing countries we all know it is a means of survival.
I know it’s such a multi dimensional issue and lil me not buying cheap fashion won’t stop cheap fashion. It won’t also mean that all the children working in the factories will automatically start going to school.
But i cannot really say that those are my convictions if I am not willing to at least consider denying myself spending my money to fuel what I say is one of my deepest held convictions. And yes that includes probably paying more money and attention to the things that I buy. Making sure that my own direct actions are not fuelling what I say I am against.
This is just one example in a whole range of issues and there are so many more areas where I could take more action.No matter how little. A lot of times we get bogged down by how little the impact of our actions would be that we take NO action AT ALL. This year has taught me that is just a cop out and an excuse. Nothing is too little. The mustard seed analogy comes to mind here. My beliefs,values must be reflected in the things i do, decisions and choices I make,how I live,what I spend my money on and how I interact with others.
So for me as we round up another year,a question I will keep asking myself when I talk about anything(and believe me i am always ranting about something) is; ‘ So Oyinda, what are you going to do about this right where you are?’
I hope we can also ask ourselves the same questions when thinking about what we say we believe! Imagine what the impact would be if we had more people living what they say they believe rather than the ‘perception’ of it.
As always thank you so much for reading and have a lovely Tuesday and week ahead!
Photo credits- Pinterest