By HEBANI DUGGAL
One of the reasons I love having a column that runs on a Tuesday is because it’s soon, but not too soon, after the weekend. I have two days and three nights to procrastinate by making bad decisions, and then, when Monday comes around and I sit down to write, I find that what I want to say most is what has run through my mind most often over the weekend. This weekend? This weekend has got me taking a much closer look at my morals.
I have a lot of respect for the people that can uphold their own set of morals. It’s not easy to act exactly how you want to see yourself act all the time. There’s a quote my friend recently posted to Instagram (respected source, I know) that says, “Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other people.” Yes, it’s basic, and yes, I made fun of her for it. However, as I went out Friday and Saturday nights and chose to watch three hours of How to Get Away with Murder on Sunday instead of study for my Economics prelim, her quote was what ran through my mind most often. How the hell do I “describe the demeanor” I want to adopt? And is it really my actions that make me a bad person? Or do the values I have determine the kind of person I am?
Several hours in the shower later, I’ve decided that, like most other things, my parents are directly responsible for my confusion. My parents’ values have always been my values and my parents’ morals have always been my morals. My measure of what kind of person I am has never been that important because I’ve always depended on what others believed to determine what I should think of myself. For example, second-grade Hebani? She would never throw out food because “only bad people throw out food.” Having been separated from the people who have decided what my actions and values say about me leaves me no choice but to remind myself that not everyone shares the same values. There comes a point at which we have only ourselves to look to when deciding what morals are more important than others (so what I’m saying here is college freshman Hebani wastes a lot of food).
Of course, it would be a mistake to assume that we should just disregard what our parents have brought us up to believe entirely; the values we have instilled in us from years of living with our parents’ opinions will, in some way or another, always influence the decisions we make. It is just as important, however, to remind ourselves to do what others may think is wrong once in a while. Life would be an incredibly boring time if all we did was reflect the values of the people around us.