July 2017
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my core values: justice, respect, reverence/wonder, connection, imperfection, honesty, curiosity


What are your core values? I would love to know. I figured out a trick for learning what they are: you get really upset when someone else does something that violates them, and feel deep regret if you violate them. Thus, I might like being vegetarian, but if it wouldn't make me feel regret to eat meat, then refraining from eating it is not a core value of mine. Considering it this way, I have come up with my core values:

Justice. I know this to be a core value because nothing upsets me more than the enactment of the idea that hierarchy is good or necessary; that's disrespect on a grand scale. Beyond the visceral reaction, I act to dismantle/resist oppressive structures around me and work to uproot all of the hierarchies implanted in my brain by society. It is imperative to me that I die having demolished some structures of injustice, even if I am only successful within my own brain. Unquestioned privilege is a great enemy of justice so I attempt to question my privilege as much as possible.

Respect. This one is closely tied to the first, but is more micro-scale. I define respect as: being careful not to manipulate the will of others and being careful not to hurt others, whether deliberately or through carelessness. This means only leading, touching, or otherwise intruding upon people if they have consented to it, and learning about people who are different from you so that you do not unintentionally insult or hurt others.

Reverence/wonder. I have put these together because I experience them in the same way. For me, all things (living or non-living) have feelings, and all things are important and magnificent if you consider them carefully. I feel a terrible shock and revulsion when someone reacts to wonder with a shut-it-down attitude (for example, a child sees an oil slick and says "look how pretty!" to their parent and their parent says something in a dismissive tone). Approaching all things with wonder and reverence -- treating them as if they are magic and as if they are alive (whether you believe it or not) -- is extremely important to me. Part of this is having a personal relationship with things I own, especially things I use daily. I do not want to have two items that serve the same purpose, unless I often need more than one of them at a time; thus I have one coat, one jacket, one pair of shoes (and a pair I wear only at interviews), one pair of sunglasses, one pair of glasses, etc. Another part of this is not harming any living thing any more than necessary for survival (though I am hypocritical about this and will use anti-bacterial and/or anti-viral chemicals for cleaning or medicine).

Connection/compassion. I see all parts of the universe(s) as one being, and the truest expression of that being as empathy. I feel this as the purpose of all life, and those top three I listed because they are the methods to this one. I feel equality, respect, and reverence/wonder are the values necessary for connection. I have seen inequality, disrespect, and irreverence destroy possibility of connection in spiritual, social, ecological, and other ways. Ways of honoring connection are important to me and I value them even when they are not ones I would want to do or feel capable of such as climbing a mountain or having sex with a stranger (did it once, that was enough). Refusing to attempt to empathize is deeply upsetting to me as a violation of this value.

Imperfection/action. I do not ask "what would fix this?" but instead "how can I make this better?" I allow myself to fail at my own values without judging myself; I just look at the instance and try to learn how to avoid it next time. I do not strive for perfection or reject any but the best, but instead take action. When people do not have this value they do things like say "well I can't fix the whole world so I'm just going to throw my cigarette butt or water bottle on the ground like everyone else." I think that comes from fear of self-loathing; they do not want to commit to a value that they cannot do perfectly because they would hate themselves for failing. I am okay with failure; it is the effort that matters to me. I want to take imperfect actions.

Honesty. I cannot stand lies, not from me or other people. Not in words or silence or deeds. I will not pretend to like someone who damages me on purpose, even if that would allow me to escape damage. I do not think it is acceptable to be silent when I know that my silence will be taken to mean something other than the truth (though I will hypocritically do this if I feel endangered).

Curiosity/questioning. Asking questions is a sacred value of mine, and I am hurt when people do not show curiosity towards me. (however, I recognize that the 'showing' is a kind of openness and there may be curiosity with no evidence for me to see) I am deeply upset when people squelch curiosity, especially of children. Part of this value is critical analysis: not just absorbing information but engaging with it, dismantling it and rebuilding it as one's own unique understanding.

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And these are my secondary values, deeply important to me but not to the level that I am automatically repulsed by people who violate them:

Transparency/openness. I value the free flow of sharing and loathe when things are cloaked. I feel betrayed when I learn that people I feel close to have kept something hidden from me, even if they didn't make me think something untrue. I feel smothered and shrunk when I cannot share freely, and good when I can, even if I feel ashamed of the thing I am sharing. I feel disconnected and unloved when people do not share freely with me, and honored and loved when people do share freely with me.

Creativity. By this I don't mean being an artist: I mean creating. Taking some part of yourself and sharing it with the world; taking some fallow bit of the universe and making it sprout. I feel deeply upset when anyone disparages someone else's creation as inferior. Creation in and of itself is sacred. Whether you make macaroni necklaces or carve marble or decorate your notebook or whatever, it all matters.

Growth/change. I need to be able to look back on my life and see that I have become more of the me that I want to be. I am upset when people suggest that I should not concern myself with deliberate change (especially of my mind), should return to a former version of myself, or should alter my growth pattern to suit them. I 100% disagree with the statement "people don't change." This is an important value of mine because no matter what I might have accomplished, if I did not grow and change during the process, I would consider that part of my life wasted.

Thoroughness. This is one I only learned I had after I kept getting upset that others didn't have it. Once I realized it was a clash of values I was much more accepting. I value doing things carefully and fully. This can be a hindrance and it is incompatible with values like easygoingness (there's got to be a better word for that but I can't think of it). Tidiness falls in here (I also don't live up to my own value in this way sometimes).

(written for LJ Idol's topic 0) ETA: On further reflection I rearranged these for better accuracy and added "imperfection" because it is vital to me. As evidenced by this imperfect entry :D


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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.