Values Are For Shoppers, I’m For Giving Up

"Values are For Shoppers." 12/3/12. Marker. 7½x9½”.
“Values are For Shoppers, I’m For Giving Up.” 12/3/12. Marker. 7½x9½”.

Core beliefs are the things we believe about ourselves that guide and influence all of our behavior. This week’s spirituality group assignment at Tranquil Shores was to list ten core beliefs. I did it on the same page on which I was also scribbling (and using to write notes to the girl sitting next to me).

  1. I am ugly.
  2. I am a problem.
  3. My perceptions are wrong.
  4. I am smart.
  5. I am only tolerated.
  6. I am almost good enough.
  7. I’m not like other people.
  8. Nothing lasts.
  9. I lose.
  10. Nothing matters.


Number three might not actually be a core belief as much as it was a new belief that had been developing in response to everyone telling me how wrong I was (when it came to my core beliefs).Number four is the one positive item on the list. Number six was misinterpreted by someone in the group as positive but “I’m almost good enough” is an acknowledgment that I might not be thoroughly awful (when it comes to [insert anything here]) but I’m not good enough to actually succeed. Which is maybe even more frustrating because it puts me in the position to think that I might succeed “one of these times.” It keeps me going and sets me up for more disappointment. [What I failed to recognize up to this point in my life was that I had succeeded many times at many things: I have a fucking law degree from Georgetown! I released records by some of my favorite bands! I’ve done all kinds of cool shit in my lifetime].

Number ten is my favorite because it’s the one item that I held on to – but spun in such a way that (rather than eat away at my fucking soul) it frees me.

That sounds lame and I’m okay with that.


After we wrapped up core beliefs, we were told to make a list of core values. Values are inherently positive though. And having just reviewed my ten core beliefs, I was emotionally drained and feeling sick to my stomach. In that state, I wasn’t about to acknowledge anything even remotely positive. Not to mention that – while I knew what my core beliefs were without even having to think about it –  “my values?” … That was a little trickier.

“Values are for shoppers,” I wrote.

Because I think I’m clever.

And because I was scared to go there.


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