We are sharing our own thoughts in response to this months prompt (Refer back to The Invitation if you have questions about what we’re doing here).
Libby Smith shares their thoughts on our prompt: What does it look like to go to work with your values intact?
Over the past four years I’ve gravitated towards practices that help myself and others express their authentic self. Whether through teaching interpersonal effectiveness or through hosting breathwork circles, my work centers deep self-awareness and compassion for others through understanding our shared humanity. This work not only supports my values, but I know it will also help other people to clarify and live their own values.
When we move towards understanding our authentic self we often realize we have been living out of alignment with our values. As I moved through this work myself, I realized that I couldn’t truly define my values. I knew I believed in concepts like equality and justice, but there was no logic model to explain how I would realize these values in my work.
Today, part of my ongoing reflective practice is to do a quarterly review of the values that I have defined and reflect on how they are being expressed through me. This understanding of the self, clarifying of values, becoming accountable to yourself and others, is the root system of collective healing and transformative change.
Do your work and you’ll be able to teach people from the path that you’ve personally walked. – Lindsay Mack
When we live and work out of alignment with our values we do harm to our self and others. In trauma psychology, this is defined as moral injury. Usually used to describe the traumatic effect on soldiers who witness or perpetrate harm in battle, the concept can also apply to the erosive effect of working in organizations and institutions that perpetuate systemic oppression.
In this moment in history, many of us are just waking up to the ways that we (and the organizations we work for) have upheld white supremacy. As evaluators, we have the skills to build our personal theory of change, a model for how we will both understand and live our values. It’s time we hold ourselves and our organizations accountable for acting on the values we have claimed to support for so long.