Hello, how are you doing? Ming and I had a cool conversation about what I value in people, and what he values too. Thought I’d share with you what we came up with. How do your values compare?
I was feeling sad about people: humanity, cultures, societies, communication, relationships. Feeling like 85% of people are flakes, around 85% of the time, and it’s disrespectful.
It scared me because I realized, “I’ve been wrong about people all this time.” The confusion was uncomfortable. I’d believed accountability was something that reasonable, kind people do, not a rare treat of shining stars. Hmm, how could I be so wrong?
I told a couple friends how I was feeling. It was an emotional emergency. I was like, “Wait–if I’ve been wrong about people this whole time, then my expectations were off with everyone..?” It made me insecure about all my relationships back through time, like I expected too much.
But how could expecting people to do what they say they’ll do be too much?
what language is for
I thought language was for telling the truth as clearly and kindly as possible. It hurt to have the powerful realization that language is mostly for lying.
“Wow–no wonder I feel on a different page from almost everyone,” I thought. I often feel like I have a very different life project from most people.
It’s hard for me to tell what’s going on inside other people, their motivations, and how their decision making works at all. I know how it works for me; I have a lot of self-knowledge. But other people I can be clueless about.
It’s at least partly an autism thing. For my own safety, over the course of my entire life, I’ve tried very hard to figure out what’s going on with others. But my guesses can be way, way off.
I was lamenting to the point of wanting to leave society. Truly I find myself in that situation more often than I’d prefer.
My good friend in Canada asked me a question. “What do you value about people, other than accountability?” she asked. Maybe she heard I was stuck and wanted to help me remember that people are complex and multi-dimensional.
I thanked my friend for her question and told her I would journal about it and get back to her. In my journal I wrote: curiosity, good listening, insight / understanding, touch, skills like cooking delicious foods, time shared.
“What do you value in people? I asked Ming. Together we talked out what he values–some things were specific to what he values about me.
I wrote in my journal that Ming values commitment, loyalty, being deeply present, showing up to share and give, ability to comprehend, the mutuality of sharing interests and love. He said that what we have in common is valuable, and the ways we differ are valuable too.
Ming said he likes being transparent with each other mutually, and that he and I are very good at seeing one another. He said we are very good at intimacy. And that’s a strength of our relationship, but also a skill we both carry with us all the time. We’re good at being direct, real, and compassionate with other people also.
Something I really like about Ming is how he’s willing to try the difficult dive. He didn’t just say, “I like when people are kind and when people are energetic.” He’s willing to show up for the question and work to say something nuanced. I’m grateful that Ming has a language-related learning disability, yet is willing to work to say something he deeply feels.
Willingness is something I value in people. So many people are going to work, recovering from work, and entertaining themselves till they die. I’m so glad Ming and others are willing to work at something personal that they’ll get no money for.
When I asked Ming what I value in people, he said I value flexibility, honesty, accuracy, self-knowledge, and accurate self-reporting. Yes, so true. I asked what he meant by flexibility, and we talked about how I like people to be open to something different.
Grateful to Ming and the people who help me be who I am. Thank you to everyone who helps me sort out what people are like, how I can get less hurt, and how I can continue to function in society.