Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

Using anger to identify values

Most values exercises involve a long list of words and invite us to read through and pick those that represent our top values.

The challenge is that so many of them sound good! There can be so many we recognize expressing or acting on in the past, that it can be difficult to choose which ones are most important. It can be even more confusing if we’re having difficulty sensing the difference between what we truly value, what we’ve been taught to value, and what we feel we should value.

One way to try to get clarity is to sense into how you feel when a value is violated. How angry do you feel when someone crosses that value? Try to be specific and imagine particular scenarios when someone was dishonest, disorganized, impractical, unimaginative, inconsiderate, too slow, too fast, and so on. Go through each value that you’re having trouble deciding on, flip it to its opposite, and notice how much you would care about someone being or behaving in that opposite way.

Sensing your level of anger when a value is violated might help you to separate out the values that you simply agree with from the ones that are absolutely non-negotiable. Because we don’t get angry unless something or someone we truly care about is in danger.

11 June 2022

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