Building an Authentic Community of Practice

Blog, Understanding Our Values

An Experimental Workshop in Values

two hands reaching out and holding each other in black and white

Every living person has their own set of values- internal beliefs that, when enacted, make them feel fulfilled and that gives them a sense of purpose. Acting in alignment with our values, makes us feel grounded and powerful. A few years ago, I found out that one of the astrological signs in my “big three” was cancer. Cancer is a sign that represents emotions and is thought of as sensitive. I never wanted to be seen as sensitive- I lived my life emphasizing my strength, both physical and emotional and it was hard to accept that sensitivity was an undeniable part of me. When I first did this exercise on values, Independence and Adaptability were in my top five and only later did I realize that those were forefronted because of my trauma. When I processed some of that, I was able to understand that Community, Connection, and Authenticity were the values that made me feel more fulfilled and fully in line with the life I want to live /and feel I am meant to live. As I worked on my own growth and healing I better understood my true values and live my life with integrity which takes a lot of courage.

bell hooks invites us to “reevaluate the values that undergird our lives and make choices that affirm our interconnectedness with others” (94). The very basis of social justice has to do with values and the expansion of those values into the world. It is important that we explore our personal values to reflect on our own potential impact in the world. Your personal values can tell a lot about your worldview and beliefs as well as give a framework for understanding why you feel strongly about certain issues in the world over other issues.┬áSolidarity and anti-oppression work are two social justice principles that I am drawn to. Solidarity is about valuing connection and building relationships to work collectively toward a common goal. Anti-oppression work takes courage and is about valuing authenticity over complying with the oppressive structures that harm us. I have grown and am continually growing into a person who loves and desires collective liberation above my own individual privileges within this system. The struggle for collective liberation is the foundation of my ethical stance.