Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:41 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Hey!

I have a short question about values. What happens, when different values predict different decisions? Should you go by a strict prioritization and say “Well, that value is higher up the list, so I ditch the other option” or should you fluently adjust the order of your values to the situation, to what’s most appropriate? Obviously it’s best to look for the decision that’s most congruent with all values involved. But let’s say things contradict each other. Do you monitor your current situation and see what decision would fit your needs better? That kind of sounds like emotion based decision making again, doesn’t it? I’m a bit confused. I just want to get this right, since it’s such an important factor. What I might add is: I'm at lesson 19 right now, so there's a good chance that this workshop hasn't scratched that topic but my questions will be answered during the next lessons. If so, please feel free to tell me that. But those questions arose while I did a value roleplay and I haven't found an answer in the workshop so far, so I'll ask here.

I’ll try to give an example: Let’s say a friend invites you to a party, but you’re not sure if you want to go. Actually you’re kind of excited to meet new people, since your value a) is “growth”. But no the other hand you know it’s going to be loud, smelly and you feel like drunk people would be too much right now, because you kind of feel blue at the moment. So your value b), that is “self-love”, would make the suggestion, to stay at home and relax, because maybe you need that alone-time. Let’s say you don’t have a clear preference towards one opinion, you’re open towards both and you can see the benefits of both decisions. So what happens then? Do you start to “bargain” with yourself and try to find a compromise? Or should you chose one value that you deem more important in that situation? So would it be “Okay, I go to that party, but I’ll keep the option to leave after an hour or so”. I guess that could work in some cases. But sometimes you’re like “nah, I should probably stay at home”. Like you had a rough day at work and you know, that even if the party is an opportunity to grow, it’s better to stay at home and relax for the rest of the night.

I know, in such a case as the example you should more or less do what feels right. But again, isn’t a “what feels right” situation just a different case of emotion-based-decision-making? Or is it not, since your feelings are attached to your values and therefore it isn’t a bad thing to rely on your emotions? I guess in the end such a decision-making-progress is a combination of “what do you value higher?” and “what action is the one that makes the most overall happiness or usefulness based on my different values”. I know this is a matter of personal philosophy/ethics as well. Actually I’m scratching at the topics of “Utilitarianism” and “Deontological ethics”. So I know, there’s no right or wrong answer.

But before this ends in an abstract philosophical discussion, what do you suggest/do as a practical way to solve this? I kind of feel like I’ve answered the question by myself but I would like to hear your opinion on it.

Best regards,

A.S.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Hello Axelswagger!

The choice is always yours even if you don't realize it. What is it that YOU want to do???

Whatever the choice, is it filtered through your values, or is it filtered through your addiction??

Do WANT to go??

Is it because of "growth" or for the opportunity to act out?

Do you not want to go?

Is it for "self-love" or is it because you don't want to associate with others (my usual defense)??


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:25 am 
Offline
General Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Hey axelswagger,
I think this is a good question but the answer is not that clear-cut, I'm afraid. There are more answers to this as you've figured out by yourself, you need to find what fits you keeping in mind that it's a process of growth therefore you are bound to learn more about yourself and you will get more clarity on how you need to proceed in any given situation.

I think that 62andbroken made an excelllent point. There is a lot of self-knowledge work and effort behind accurately identifying your values from your deficiencies. In a certain situation, your desire to act in a certain way can equally come from both sources because people like us are so good at self-delusion. We tell ourselves lies to still be able to feel good about ourselves, even when we fail to take the right decision. We find excuses and we believe in them because we need to. The truth hurts in most cases and we are pain avoiders by definition so it makes sense that we would rather comfort ourself with a nicer self-image even though untrue or half true. In time you will uncover the areas you struggle with, you will learn to recognize your own delusions and deficiencies from your values and you will choose to act in such a manner as to achieve balance between your values. To give a personal example, I've always looked down on certain type of reunions, told myself I'm better than those people and it's so boring what they were doing so I felt justified not to bother being part of pretty much anything. I wouldn't know if it were true or not but what it's definitely true and I'm well aware of now is that I also felt insecure, inadequate, like I don't belong, like I'm different, empty, disconnected. Nowadays, when the opportunity comes to interact with people (happens quite rarely, once in few months), first I get excited, like I really want to and it would be great as I miss talking and being around people but as the day comes closer, I start finding excuses, I don't have clothes, I don't have money,I don't have time, it would be boring, there are things more important to deal with, etc., it's all a torment meant to discourage me from going. Because I know the problem, I know what's coming, I know the patterns and the debate and I avoid getting mixed up in this so I've made a prior decision to go which overrules any others I might make when I feel anxious. It works pretty ok, I'm able to go and enjoy and when it's over I feel happy that I chose to go and not give in to my insecurities. But it's still something I need to manage consciously, it does not come naturally.

Otherwise, I do agree that sometimes values do contradict each other and it's difficult to prioritize. At times you have to give it a lot of thought and do some soul searching until you finally feel that the balance might tilt slightly in favour of a certain course of action. It's usually the case with big life decisions and you might have to sleep on it for long until you are able to see clearly and decide.

axelswagger wrote:
Do you monitor your current situation and see what decision would fit your needs better? That kind of sounds like emotion based decision making again, doesn’t it?

There are strong emotions around your positive values as well, so technically, IMO, any value-based decision would also qualify as emotion based. Conversely, all those "dark side" values which go into acting out are values as well, so any acting out could technically be called value-based. So, what we actually refer to as "values" and "value-based decision making" is merely a convention to make a distinction between the values you want to pursue in your life and those you want to discard. The emotions just follow these different sets of values but they are there on both sides. Then things get a bit more complicated because there might be a bit of a grey area dictated by exceptional circumstances where for e.g. you might be totally against taking someone else's life but you might actually choose to do so in self-defence or to protect a loved one. So, don't expect that a value-based decision is void of emotion. Depending on how deeply you've connected to the value, it can elicit a range of intensities, from deep satisfaction and pride to a more indifferent emotional response.

In your own example, going to the party to pursue growth or staying home to practice self-care, if they are both genuine values with no other hidden implications (as discussed earlier, for e.g. going to a party could be a way to avoid being on your own and facing your emotions, i.e. distracting yourself, while staying home could be a strategy for not having to deal with social anxiety and feeling inadequate, i.e. avoiding human connection), you might want to consider things like frequency of opportunity (maybe a party comes rarely along while you can always stay in), balance (maybe you've been going out to parties quite a lot lately), alignment to other values (it sounds like you don't really value the drinking, the noise and the smell at the party), possibility of compromising (as you said, doing both), etc. Consider also that there are infinite possibilities of developing a value, not just one action. So, if going to a party doesn't really align to other values, what other actions can you engage in to still support your value of growth?

axelswagger wrote:
I know, in such a case as the example you should more or less do what feels right. But again, isn’t a “what feels right” situation just a different case of emotion-based-decision-making? Or is it not, since your feelings are attached to your values and therefore it isn’t a bad thing to rely on your emotions? I guess in the end such a decision-making-progress is a combination of “what do you value higher?” and “what action is the one that makes the most overall happiness or usefulness based on my different values”.

I think you got it. The secret I believe is in how well you know yourself, how well you know your strengths and weaknesses, values and deficiencies. The more you know about yourself, the more clarity you get when making the right decisions for yourself.

:g:

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:44 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:37 pm
Posts: 161
Interesting question and I think you've got some really good answers already but wanted to share my thoughts as well.

The first thing I thought of is how your list of values are made when you are clear headed and that by deviating from your list you run the risk of allowing your current emotional state to lead you in a direction you may later regret. Not to say that it would work out that way. Could be exactly the opposite and could turn out that was the best decision you could have made. There are just an unlimited number of options here. We're all different and I think Ursala has it right when she says it's a matter of how well you know yourself and what's right for you. Our emotions are always present whether we recognize them or not so I believe they play some role in our decision making process that just can't be completely eliminated. What's important here I think is to ensure that it is your values that are driving your behavior and not your emotions.

_________________
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. -David Henry Thoreau


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Thanks for all the great answers! I think the most important part is to ask these questions, to challenge your old beliefs and to step out of your comfort zone. All of your answers helped me to gain a new perspective in addition to my own thoughts.

ursula wrote:
I think that 62andbroken made an excelllent point. There is a lot of self-knowledge work and effort behind accurately identifying your values from your deficiencies. In a certain situation, your desire to act in a certain way can equally come from both sources because people like us are so good at self-delusion. We tell ourselves lies to still be able to feel good about ourselves, even when we fail to take the right decision. We find excuses and we believe in them because we need to. The truth hurts in most cases and we are pain avoiders by definition so it makes sense that we would rather comfort ourself with a nicer self-image even though untrue or half true.


Yep, straight to the point answer by 62andbroken. Your post is so interesting. My immediate thought while reading this was "wow, that's what absolute honesty is about". I always struggled with that concept, the typical thoughts like "so I am not allowed to lie anymore in any given context?". But seeing it from that point of view makes a lot sense. And I think it's already a huge step to act in that honest way. Let's be honest, as hard as we fight, sometimes it's not possible to be 100% authentic. But being honest about it, at least to yourself, knowing in which areas your weakness lies, to conquer it the next time, already makes a difference. So correct me if I'm wrong, but the example you described is absolute honesty at work, isn't it? I think that's all part of the things we have to learn and establish in our lifes. For a healthy person it's easier to stay true to their core beliefs. As a recovering addict you have to constantly be aware of those mechanisms that are going on in your head.

ursula wrote:
Otherwise, I do agree that sometimes values do contradict each other and it's difficult to prioritize. At times you have to give it a lot of thought and do some soul searching until you finally feel that the balance might tilt slightly in favour of a certain course of action. It's usually the case with big life decisions and you might have to sleep on it for long until you are able to see clearly and decide.


Another good point, maybe such a case of indecision is a sign, that there's something bigger going on. On the other hand I made the experience in my day-to-day life, that you should sometimes just make up your mind over something small. I realized how draining it is to contemplate whether I should go to the gym or if i should go for a run, as long as I'm taking the effort to dome some health-based activity. Chosing one thing and sticking to it is kind of liberating in that context.

ursula wrote:
So, what we actually refer to as "values" and "value-based decision making" is merely a convention to make a distinction between the values you want to pursue in your life and those you want to discard.


Okay, that's sort of a relief for me. I sometimes felt some kind of dissonance at that point where I was thinking "well, what's actually the difference". Thanks for the clarification.

beenthere.donethat wrote:
The first thing I thought of is how your list of values are made when you are clear headed and that by deviating from your list you run the risk of allowing your current emotional state to lead you in a direction you may later regret.


Another good point! You're right, when I feel [insert random intense emotion] I start to feel more and more out of touch with my values and I start to question them. When I calm down and I feel some kind of inner piece I again realize, that they're what I truly want to establish. By staying true to that list you steer your life, as much as possible. The road might get bumpy and maybe some intersections are closed but your values are always are there to lead you to your goal. While abstaining from your values means going off track, maybe you unconsciously steer towards your goals as well, but in the end you end up in a ditch.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:32 am 
Offline
General Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
axelswagger,

Absolute honesty is something we all strive towards. Achieving that would mean we've achieved perfect self-awareness and self-understanding, coupled with zero shame, judgement or social pressure, which is highly unlikely in an absolute way.
I like to think of it as the best I can do at a given time, with my current understanding and awareness and integrated within my value system. I strive to be honest with myself, to choose to open my eyes and accept certain patterns of behavior or certain feelings which bring me shame and pain so I can strive to change them. Only through acceptance and owing things we can work on them and change them in the desired direction. As with honesty towards others, I have boundaries. There are other values involved which sometimes take precedence. I try not to mislead, not to give the wrong impression or knowingly let people persist in wrong opinions about me. Otherwise, I can choose how many details to give, what to share, to whom and in what situation. That also depends on how much the person is prepared to listen. With my partner, there are agreements in place because we both struggle with similar issues. If I find myself debating whether I should mention something to him or not, I usually make it a point to tell him whatever it was. I see this debating the first sign of conscious dishonesty. You will also build your own definition of values, how they should be applied, the boundaries and the consequences meant to protect them and a control or alarm system meant to bring any potential violation to your attention.

You are probably right that a healthy person, someone who has a strong adherence to their values and they have ingrained the mechanism of taking decisions meant to support them, will go through all these processes more or less in an unconscious manner. But we can also learn the mechanisms and if we practice long enough, it will become routine as well. I don't see it as a burden. Opening the doors of self-awareness is the best thing that ever happened to me. Before that my head was always filled with obsessive compulsions about other people, fantasizing etc. It was such a waste of energy and potential, all meant to just sustain me through the day. Nowadays, I use most of this energy to get to know myself, to grow myself, to respect my chosen values. I enjoy the accomplishments, I swallow the temporary setbacks and recommit. Self-awareness gave me a chance to accept myself because I can understand and change instead of thinking that there is something inherently wrong with me for eternity, therefore I'm beyond hope. To tell you the truth, I'm quite proud I'm doing this and I wouldn't have it any other way.

About taking small decisions and finding it difficult, you should be aware that people like us have some kind of anxiety around choosing as it means closing off all other options and we don't like that. We feel insecure if we have to take decisions because it means giving up the alternatives, it means living with the consequences of that decision, limiting ourselves somehow. As Coach Jon was saying in the early lessons, it might be related to the fear of our mortality, of accepting that we actually have limited time on our hands and every minute, every decision counts. By delaying or refusing to decide we sustain the illusion of unlimited time and unlimited possibilities. If you find it difficult to decide on equally desirable alternatives, you can set yourself a schedule and rotate them so you can achieve balance.

Be well,
Ursula

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group