What I Discovered When I Reassessed My Values

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

I was on a social media break the past weekend.

No Instagram. No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube.

Though at times my fingers were itching to go on either of those apps, I managed to resist.

Once the first half of the day passed, my fingers weren’t twitching anymore.

The second day was a breeze and the FOMO was non-existent.

My secret?

First, I hid the apps (I only have IG and Twitter on my phone) within a folder that has more than 9 apps in it so it would take me a few steps to reach the app lol

Second, I busied myself with decluttering.

I Realised I’m A Hoarder

Though I think I’m a minimalist – I rarely buy stuff and my workspace is often tidy – I’m actually a hoarder.

It’s thanks to my past self who didn’t know about the concept of minimalism and unaware how much her consumerism habits were destroying the planet.

So I have so many stuff accumulated from at least 5 years ago.

I purged nearly half of my clothes, some bits and bobs, and most of my old stationeries.

The only thing I did not declutter (yet) was my books. I’ll do that another day.

But for now, I’m happy with the tidiness of my table and closet.

(PS: I’ve moved back into my parents’ house so that’s why I had to declutter my stuff. The apartment I was living in was fairly clutter-free)

I Have Very Few Friends Who Would Check Up On Me

Like less than five.

Or actually two, tops, if you don’t count me starting the conversation first.

I’m saying this not to ask for attention or to be pitied but this is just what I realised.

And I’m okay with this.

It just shows that I’m really not so important. If I die today, life will still go on.

And it just means that I haven’t created some sort of a legacy to last long in many a people’s memory.

Do I want to leave a legacy, though? That’s the question.

But for now, I’m happy that I have at least one person who constantly checks up on me. I know how fleeting life is so I’m truly cherishing the people I have in my life right now.

I Realigned My Values Hoping They Will Translate Into Action

This was a big one.

After all the physical decluttering, I needed to declutter my mind.

I was honestly feeling rather lost.

I wasn’t sure if my values were justified and if my current actions are aligned with my values.

To people, it may seem that I practice a low waste lifestyle but in reality, I still buy items wrapped in plastic.

But I’ve learned to cut myself some slack.

Being “zero waste” is NOT JUST an individual’s responsibility.

Capitalism and consumerism are systemic problems that we must solve together.

I can’t go without plastic completely especially when we’re in this pandemic where the government is encouraging takeaways.

While the reason may be justified for now, I know that this is a short-sighted approach. Climate change and waste pollution would bite us real hard in the arse if we don’t do something drastic.

So after listing down my values and the actions I’ve taken and would like to take, I realised that my goal has actually been consistent.

I still want to be involved in both the climate and animal rights movement. I still want to live in harmony with nature.

And I hope with my knowledge and experience, I can help nature and animal lovers align their values with their actions.

Where Do I Go From Here?

I’ll just simply carry on doing what I’ve been doing but with more efficiency.

After reading a few of Mark Manson’s articles about procrastination, personal values, and happiness, I can sum up his ideas to a few points:

  • To sustain an action, you need to value something bigger than yourself; it could be God, nature or striving for justice.

  • One way to spot if you’re lying to yourself is to analyse your actions; you need to have the self-awareness to know they don’t align with your values and have the humility to change.

  • If you get stuck with something, detach your present identity (not easy to do but possible) and admit that maybe you’re so perfect after all.

  • Passion is the result of action; the more you do something that you find value in, the more passionate you’ll become.

The terms “values”, “action”, “passion”, and “identity” are all interlinked.

They’re fluid in their relation to each other.

Here’s what I mean.

At one point, your identity may define your actions. At another, your values would dictate your passion. And at a different moment, your actions would define your identity, which would bring out a new passion in you.

I guess for me, the way I look at it is that you should only focus on what you can control, which are your actions and your values.

You can control your identity as well but too much of that may somehow change your initial values and/or cause you to stop doing a certain action.

I put too much pressure on my identity of being a “Muslim Vegan” that I am now afraid of saying the wrong things even though I know I’m still learning as I go along.

I forced the identity of being a “Freelance Copywriter” because I needed jobs to sustain my income but too much of that made me burnt out. I got really stuck in writing the past weeks and I lost the passion in the very thing I used to enjoy.

But it’s not that I lost the passion, not exactly.

I just got exhausted.

So the weekend’s mental reset was a great way for me to rediscover my passion and reassuring myself that my values are justified.

What Do I Want To Do?

I still want to be involved in both the climate and animal rights movement. I still want to live in harmony with nature.

And I want to share my stories and experiences so that I can help make it easier for others to follow suit.