VIRGINIA CUTCHIN is a multilingual, intercultural relations consultant, a health and wellness coach, and a neurolanguage® coach. In part 2 of her interview with JAYATI DESAI, Virginia talks about how values evolve.
Q: You have spoken about acquired versus core values, and how they are likely to shift when we move from one place to another. We are taught a set of values by our family and immediate surroundings when we are young, and as we maneuver though different stages of life those core values may evolve. How can we differentiate between the two, and develop a better understanding of ourselves and our values?
VC: Great question. When I encounter difficulty and confusion in identifying an underlying value, I ask myself, “What is it that you can’t not do?”
What is it that you can’t help but do every day? How is it that you must show up in the world, because not doing that creates such discomfort. This is different from your comfort zone. A core value is something you can’t not do, whether it’s an activity or a way of thinking. Sometimes, it has to do with your DNA, and what’s passed on.
If it is not something you have to do, then it’s probably an acquired value. Acquired values come early in life. We learn them from parents, siblings, teachers, friends, the neighborhood, guests, and television. We evaluate everything that comes into our world, and sense it as a possible acquired value. Because we are constantly bombarded with external influences, we owe it to ourselves to manage the incoming assault of influences and to take time to really untie the knot of what is a core value and what is an acquired value.
When people move to different countries, or when they acquire a new language and the idiosyncrasies of that new language, sometimes confusion, disappointment, or anger can come from the clash of their core values versus incoming influences.
I’ve rejected some of my acquired values because they conflicted with my core values. Some acquired values served me well, helped me serve others – so I keep those. I’ve lived in other countries and I’ve been able to evaluate a lot. You can’t choose your core values, though. You can modify them, but you can’t reject them, because they are so essential to your being. Personal reflection is essential to keep your values in check.
Q: I’m curious – based on the number of people you’ve coached over the years across the world, do you see any patterns in the way values are evolving or shifting in the last few years?
VC: Yes, absolutely. In the past couple of years, as the world has been impacted by the pandemic, I see a couple of things happening. Those who benefited from the pre-Covid materialist world want to hang on to it and rebuild it into what it was before. For others, there’s more willingness to explore core values, consciousness, and to question our willingness to adhere to the old ways. There are those who say, “Wait a second. This doesn’t feel right, look right, or serve me anymore.”
We are willing to be more discerning. We are willing to assert what works and doesn’t work for us anymore. According to me, this comes from a long history of self-reflection and growth. It boils down to alignment with the inner Self.
Q: In an earlier conversation, you mentioned our relationship with nature, and aligning our core values to the internal and external environment. Can you elaborate on that?
VC: It’s been liberating for me to go small. A huge revelation for me has been the recognition that when we are in the present we aren’t thinking about anything else. I am aware of my feet as I walk, the breeze and the sunlight on my face, and the feeling of my dogs’ leads in my hand as I take them for a walk. I became aware of the fact that I have enormous power to affect my immediate environment with my energy level. We are exchanging energy with the environment all the time, and I want that energy to be positive, because that’s what I want from the universe.
I start every day by breathing in the goodness of the universe. The universe is governing without any judgment. I breathe out what I’m willing to do on my part. It could be showing gratitude, or it could be acknowledging fear and embracing the protection of the universe and my well-wishers. I’m willing to go very small and realize that I can only affect my little world that fits inside a hula hoop. That’s all I can influence. If we all uplifted our world with good energy, the world would be uplifted.
Everything we see in nature has the whole universe inside of it. One of my favorite quotes is “Even the smallest flame has all the qualities of fire.” Whether it’s a little child or the trees, the entire universe is inside them. It’s right there, it’s limitless, it’s accessible, and it’s limited by our willingness to tap into it. If I’m in alignment with myself and the natural world, eventually it translates into better alignment with society at large, with the people around me.
Everything we see in nature has the whole universe inside of it.
Sometimes people don’t want change, don’t like realignment; but I am under no obligation to perpetuate that which does not work for me anymore – if it doesn’t allow me to show up as my best self in the world then I can reject it. That’s my obligation. I’m a part of many different communities, as we all are. My strongest, most meaningful community is with those people who are showing up, trying to be their best selves so they can help others be their best selves. There is so much ego-less ness in that, it’s absolutely intoxicating. Everyday, I wake up with this energy, this determination and gratitude to show up in the world and do what life expects and asks of me that day.
To be continued.