Values are both subjective and personal. They are symbolic representations of who I believe I am. They are NOT who I am any more than a dollar is what it represents.
Through attention I invest value into my perceptions. Attention is choice, a defense, in which I focus on one perception while locking out others.
Attention = Choice = Lock-on + Lock-out = Defense
That which I value I defend. The more I defend a thing, the more I in-tend to value it. That which I defend I in-tend to increase in value with the investment I put into its defense. The more I value a thing, the more I feel the need to defend it.
The reverse seems to work as well: the less I value something the less I’ll tend to defend it; and, the less I defend something the less I’ll tend to value it.
Is there a direct relationship between value and defense?
Let’s assume for the purpose of discussion that the above relationship is true. What then?
“You’re acting so defensively!” I’ve heard others say to me. Of course, my snappy come-back is, “No, I’m not!” – which, of course, is simply another way of saying, “Yes! It’s true!” while providing me a feeling of rightness in defending my defensiveness!
Instead, were I to express gratitude for the information and investigate WHAT, HOW, or even WHY defensive I might discover a personal value I take for granted – WHO I am.
I say for granted because my defense was covert to me – I was unaware of the defense and probably the value being defended. While the defense is “automatic,” the value is hidden. When I’m defensive, could I be avoiding discovering who I am?
For example, I perform some defensive behavior – maybe I’ve acted inappropriately. Someone calls me on it – “What is the matter with you?” To which, I respond, “I’m fine! What’s the matter with YOU?”
In my mind, I suddenly realize that I’ve behaved defensively by using a deflection move (“Wax on, wax off!”). Awesome time to look at my defensive behavior as a RESOURCE to gain information about who I am.
Four Useful Questions
- “WHAT am I defending?” Represents identity relevant to its source.
- “HOW am I defending?” Represents process relevant to its source.
- “WHY am I defending?” Represents value relevant to its source.
- “WHO am I defending?” Represents embodiment relevant to its source.
Values are, well, valuable. By asking the above four questions, I can extract value from all that defensiveness.
With this new information about who I am, rather than seeking to “just let it go” when I feel defensive, perhaps I might look into the possibility of transforming my thoughts from “neediness” to “wholeness.”