If we only determine our values through the act of making choices, then how do we make decisions? How is this of any use? Doesn’t this only make things more complicated?
It certainly has that potential, I’ll admit. But, at the same time, I think this could be a useful way of looking at the decision-making process. Here’s what this way of seeing does for us: It gives us freedom. We don’t need to spend hours deliberating and trying to discern the perfect outcome, or the best possible outcome, or the “right” outcome. We can decide which outcome is correct by making a conscious choice to value certain things.
I keep returning to a made up example of having to choose between moving to California verses staying in Virginia. Rather than weighing which outcome I feel strongest about, I give myself permission to choose values. Let’s say I choose to value warm weather. Let’s say I choose to value proximity to the ocean. Let’s say I choose to value being close to friends from graduate school. There are all sorts of things I can choose to value. The reverse is also true. I can choose to value staying close to family, or a lower cost of living, or stability, or staying close to Norah’s birth family.
The point is this: I can choose what to value and I do so by making a decision. This frees us from getting trapped in a cycle of revving up our anxiety trying to determine what we value based on feelings. It’s okay to admit that we may not know what we value. It’s freeing to assume we can choose it.