“Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.” – Paul Tillich, theologian
“… just another suit with the solutions to all our HR problems!”
Dana was a thick, strong, stout woman of 45, with a deep voice and a “take no prisoners” attitude. She worked in the human resources department of a large multinational company. She was a seasoned middle manager who had learned to survive and roll with all the latest HR paradigms, buzzwords and seminars, that passed constantly, through her company, and her department. To say she was skeptical, was to put it mildly. It was more accurate to say, she was a hardened pessimist, who had used this approach to get her safely…with minimal scarring…to where she was, today. As she sat in my office for her first consult, you could tell right away, she was frustrated, annoyed…even angry.
After the preliminary introductions, I asked her what was on her mind today which had brought her here. She jumped right in with,
“My boss sent me to a seminar last week, as a representative of our company, and I’m still upset about it.”
“What happened at that seminar, Dana?” I asked.
“Nothing unusual really, just another business suit with the solutions to all our HR problems!” she replied with heavy sarcasm in her voice.
“So, you weren’t impressed with this seminar?” I asked.
“I been to so many over the years…but, this one was just worse, I guess!” she replied with a slight hesitation to her voice.
“Dana, how was it worse?”
“My faith is what motivates me, my belief in my God…not my highest values!”
“The seminar leader said people are motivated by their highest values, before everything else…that statement really threw me for a loop! I feel like…I’ve been depressed ever since…full of self doubt and confusion.”
“How did the seminar do that, Dana?”
“My faith is what motivates me, my belief in my God…not my highest values! If my faith isn’t what motives me…isn’t what keeps me on the straight and narrow…then, what does. I’m really confused, right now!” she replied with fear sprouting from her eyes with a few tears.
“Do you know what your highest values are, Dana?” I said.
“I thought so…my faith, my family and my pet Chihuahua, Fergie!”
“Dana, you may be right on, with your analysis. But, sometimes we miss important values! When events confuse us…which it looks like, that seminar did, it can sometimes be traced to, not being aware of all of our values.”
“I’ve never thought of it that way, Ken!”
“Most of us never do! But, if you wish, we can uncover a complete list of your top values, so you can check. Would you be interested in doing that, Dana?”
“Yes, I would…because, I thought, I had my life all figured out…but now, I’m having doubts…and, it’s kind of scary!”
“God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.”
– Joseph Campbell, author
“…there are 13 questions that will enable you to uncover…your top values.”
“In my experience, being afraid is a useful thing because, it often means, there is something important for us to learn, for our future.”
“Do you mean being scared is a good thing?” she said, with a skiff of skepticism. Then, she added, sombrely, “ I’ve worked so hard in life, not to be afraid!”
“Fear is nature’s tool to motivate us to survive…but to survive with more care. Dana, there are 13 questions, I can ask you, that will enable you to uncover exactly, what your top values are, today.
“That would be great! Can we start now?”
“We can indeed! Here is how we are going to do it. First, I want you to go to the website (https://drdemartini.com/account/value-determination) and following the instructions carefully, complete the Demartini’s Values Determination form. Then, I want you to print off your results, which you can do online, and bring it with you next week. This information will help us to find out why that seminar upset you. How does that sound?”
“So, you want me to go to this website, complete this form on line, print it off, and bring it back here, next week. Then, you can use the information to help me understand what is going on with me…right?”
“Great, I’ll do it this evening!” she replied with a tone of anticipation in her voice.
“I spend a lot of my time just trying to feel safe…”
Dana returned the follow Tuesday with her task completed. When I asked how it went, she replied, “Ken, it was very interesting. There were some surprises, but also, some things. which I kinda knew, already! I enjoyed it…but, it really got me thinking!”
“Thinking about what, Dana?” I asked.
“Well, the first thing I noticed was, what we talked about last week…about fear. I never realized how much being afraid has been a part of my thinking…actually, my life. I have spent a lot of my time, just trying to feel safe…it can be with my constant chatter which gives me a reason to be around others, or my new, and invariably safer, car, or the new alarm system I installed in my house last year…I’m really a very fearful person.”
“What is the significance of that awareness for you Dana?”
“Well, it’s actually connected to my faith as well, because I was raised in a fundamentalist, ‘god-fearing’ religion, and I have been kind of stuck in it, ever since. Ken, I learned my highest three values are: serving others, loyalty to my community and being healthy. I’ve been thinking about this all week. Know my values, and especially the three most important ones, has shown me why I have stayed with my church all the years, when so many others, have left.”
“What have you figured out about that?”
“I realize it is because this is how I serve others, how I show my loyalty to my community, and therefore, how I stay healthy! It really reaffirmed for me that my life is on track in many ways. But, I also realized, I have had an outdated perception of my faith which I picked up in my childhood, and which I am still carrying around. I want to rethink that part of my life, and make it more current. Can you help me with that, Ken?” she asked, with a soft-voiced humility, I had not witnessed before.
“I sure can, Dana, and it would be my privilege to do so!”
“Where would you like to start?”
“Well, I came from a very religious family, and to this day I have mixed emotions about my father and his role in our family, and my life. I know, in my heart, he loved me, but he was so cruel and rigid about so many things…not just our religion. I think I need to understand that more, and how it is impacted me in my life.”
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Albert Einstein, physicist
“I think my faith in myself has grown…”
So, that’s where we started. Dana worked hard at broadening her perceptions of herself, her family, her spirituality, and her life. She made steady progress over the next several weeks, and it showed in her attitude and communication style. Her sense of humour started appearing more often, and she was more relaxed and energetic. She reported to me, some of her closest friends remarked how grounded she seemed to them lately. Even her volunteer work at her church took on new dimensions, as she broadened the forms of her spirituality. She reported feeling closer to people and more safe in various ways that were new to her.
Near the end of our time working together, I asked her what was the most important thing which had changed for her? She thought for a moment, and then replied with a soft smile, “Ken, I think my faith in myself has grown, and I realize, that is exactly what my God would expect from me…to keep growing me, and my spirituality!”
“Thank you, Ken!”
“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.” – Swami Vivekananda, clergyman
Until Next time…
Now you know, your beliefs and thoughts are not fixed, but an evolving, part of you. So too, with your personal values. Do you know what your top ten personal values are today? Do you how they connect to your current job? Follow Dana’s lead and uncover your own values using Dr. Demartini’s Value Determination process. Then, you can start using them today to guide your work future, so you can determine your own destiny and inspire your own spirit.
If you find our posts useful, please share them with your circles of influence, your family, friends and colleagues. Encourage them to subscribe to our FREE Newsletter and ebook, “Finding Balance in Your Life” at http://mental-health-center.com/our-free-gift/ And, please like us on Facebook or Twitter.
Our next seminar, “A Transformation Day!” will focus on relationships. It will be on Saturday, February 27th, 2016 at our offices. Details are available at ww.kenpiercepsychologist.com
Send us your feedback and topic suggestions…we love to hear from you! If you have a specific question or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to contact me.
Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com