My friend and I met up for coffee and we got talking about core values. I explained the process I was using, that is looking at the things I like to do and see why I liked them. He thought a better place to find them would be in looking at things I do even when I don’t like them. It was an interesting point and got me thinking. I decided to go for positive things because I thought there are far too many things I don’t like to list, but I wonder if the grey in between areas will reveal more than the extremes? There is only one way to find out I suppose but first I want to make some progress with what I have.

My belief is that if I work through the list I published yesterday and consider why they are important to me, certain words will keep cropping up. My hope then is that these words will in some way represent my core values, or at least some of them. I now have an image of a graph with varying degrees of like and dislike on the x-axis and the y-axis represent frequency of activity perhaps. The origin would be neutral on feeling with zero frequency. I have no idea if that is a useful image and equally I have no idea what the graph would look like if I filled it out. In essence though, my list from yesterday is in the high frequency and liked area.

So why is “being listened to” important to me? I think on one level it is about being understood and accepted, for me it implies active listening meaning non-judgement and supportive listening that allows me to find answers. On another level I guess it is also about connecting with others, but I think a two-way connection means me actively listen to others which I can do, but the understanding bit is rather tricky when emotions are rather a mystery. On the top level I guess being listened to also means that I am recognised and exist.

“Cuddling my dog” I guess is about the sensation of holding something fluffy (white poodle) and warm that seems to adore me no matter how I am feeling. My dog also needs me to care for him which isn’t something that is always convenient. I think there is something normalising about being accepted and loved (my interpretation obviously) no matter what state I am in. He is quite peaceful most of the time that is until he barks which can really drill through my head.

“Being touched” is about the effect an external sensation haves on me. This seems to be different from cuddling the dog because it is also about somebody connecting with me in a non-verbal manner. Somehow touch is not so threatening for me, where words can be demanding and confusing, mostly touch isn’t. Touch doesn’t feel like an aggressive word but tentative and caring, and I think the sensation can take me out of the turmoil that can be my mind, by concentrating on the touch I can be free of my mind’s demands.

I think “quiet to think in” is about calming my mind by understanding and putting my thoughts in order. I guess it is about escaping external input which is interesting because there are times when I need to escape my mind, and as mentioned before touch can do that. Escape from internal chaos and escape from external input are both necessary to find a balance in which I can function in life I suppose.

I would say “the natural ecosystem” is about caring again; “tasty food” is about feeling through my sense of taste. “Keeping fit” would be about caring for myself but also I think about escaping my mind through sensation; I think there is also a sense of achievement there and recognition. “Being outside” I think is also about external sensations and escaping my mind; there is also something about recognising the chaos of time and therefore the lack of control we have over our lives. “Seeing the seasons unfold” would be about accepting and appreciating change through external sensation. Skiing and cycling would match in with keeping fit i.e. caring, escape and achievement.

“Capturing my view of the world” I think is fundamental about creativity and understanding. Through writing, photography and drawing I try to present my view of the world in the hope that others are able to understand me, and I will find other likeminded people; connecting plays a part too. I think this also ties in with “understand myself and how I interact with others” as does “improving communication between people”.

I think “watching films that give me an emotional push” is important because there are times when I feel so disconnected with the world and internally to myself that I need to remind myself that I can feel something. Films can also provide escape too, through visual and audio sensations. Playing music and singing and dancing also falls into these categories as does “being transported to a new place by a book”. “Solving puzzles” provide a different kind of escape from emotion perhaps.

I do wonder why I wrote such a long list.

Looking at what is left, “showing respect to the dead and elderly”, “supporting others”, “reusing and avoiding waste”, “everybody has the access to fundamentals” are all about caring and recognition to me, as is “being accepted and recognised as different” with acceptance added in. I think “priorities based on needs”, “trying new things”, “balancing quality and value”, “being in control of my decisions” and “driving my car” are all about control and recognition, but fairness, overcoming barriers, and achievements also feature.

In conclusion, the words that keep cropping up are:

  • Understanding
  • Acceptance
  • Connecting
  • Caring
  • Escape
  • Balance
  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Control

In addition, creativity, fairness and overcoming barriers seem important to me but perhaps they may fit in with some of the others; could overcoming barriers for instance be subsumed by understanding and escape?

Do you think I have missed any repeating words?